If real estate is all about location, then new Oklahoma Association of Realtors CEO Lisa G. Noon says she and the 8,500 Realtors she now leads are in the perfect spot.
“The Oklahoma market certainly has a diverse economy, and hasn’t had the downturn we saw in other areas,” Noon says. “Really, right now, when you look at 2009 to 2010, home sales were down just 8%, but the average price was up 3%. When I look at the numbers this year so far, in some areas, we’ve seen tremendous activity.”
Most recently, Noon served as vice president of member outreach for the Virginia Association of Realtors, where she worked for the past 17 years.
“It’s actually been great,” she says of the transition that brought not only her professional life to Oklahoma, but her husband and three teenage daughters, as well.
“Lisa is bringing exceptional experience to our association,” says Hope White, 2011 OAR president. “I’m excited to see the direction she will move OAR.”
Noon immediately noticed similarities between the market she was leaving and the one she was entering.
“There’s some comparisons,” she says, characterizing both Virginia and Oklahoma as relatively stable home markets. Virginia’s northern market got caught up in the mortgage meltdown to some extent, but nothing like what happened on either coast.
The economies of both states are diverse, allowing homeowners to better weather the current recession and stay out of foreclosure.
She says the new role simply is a continuation of her calling in life.
“First of all, I love working with Realtors. It’s really my passion,” Noon says. “It’s a very fulfilling position, because if you look at what Realtors do, their role is to support our community and be active in our community through home ownership.
“Home ownership really is the backbone of our nation’s economy,” she says. “When you get right down to it, Realtors play a critical role in what’s going on in our community, economy and within each state in terms of legislative activity.”
Noon isn’t the only one optimistic about home ownership now and in the future. The Pew Research Center released a study earlier this year, citing eight in 10 U.S. adults still believed home ownership is the best long-term investment a person can make.
An identical study was done in 1991, and 84% of respondents felt the same way then.
While home ownership may be best in the long term, nearly half of respondents this year say their home was worth less than before the recession. One in four homeowners also says they wouldn’t buy their current home if they had to make the decision again.
Noon says her new membership, which numbers 500 fewer than a year ago, is excited about things to come.
“I think, on a whole, they are very optimistic,” she says. “Those Realtors who made it through the downturn in the market … have only been strengthened. They’ve relearned prospecting skills. They’ve reset their expectations to meet the current market conditions, and I think they’ve managed very well to adjust to the changes in the market.”
Noon will focus heavily on the association’s quality of life ad campaign this year. And Realtors throughout the state will be featured for what they do in and around their communities, as the association still tries to keep the topic of buying a home in the public eye.