The Malibu Association of Realtors (MAR) sees good things on the horizon.
The group recently held its installation dinner and gala to formally install officers to Malibu’s largest professional organization. The MAR serves one of the most highly sought-after real estate zip codes in the country — if not the world. It’s been in existence since 1947.
Nearly 200 area Realtors and associates gathered at the Bel-Air Bay Club for a festive evening of dinner, dancing and casino games with some of the proceeds going to the Children’s Hospital Fund, according to Matt Ogden of Pritchett Rapf Real Estate. Ogden was installed as president of the organization, his second time at the helm of the MAR.
Awards were presented to recognize those who have made special contributions to the organization. The Realtor of the Year Award went to longtime Malibu agent Pam Whitham from Sotheby’s. The Affiliate Member of the Year Award went to Zach Tenney of Granite Escrow. Affiliate members can include title, escrow companies, warranty companies or other such businesses that work in conjunction with the real estate industry. Michael Novotny of Sotheby’s received the Community Service Award. Also, a special award was given to Derinda Moses, the chair of the Installation Committee. Ogden said of Moses, “It takes a lot of effort to put this thing on.”
When asked to comment on the local real estate market, Ogden was upbeat.
“The 2016 market was very similar to 2015 in terms of number of sales,” he said. “We did see the median home price jump up a bit. That was basically due to the fact that there was a lower inventory of lower-priced homes. This year we hope to have another strong year.”
Ogden said local Realtors are optimistic for an uptick in the market, due to ideal conditions for would-be buyers.
“We hope that sales actually might increase a little bit more because the interest rates raised a little bit toward the end of last year and the Fed has certainly signaled that there might be a couple more interest rate hikes this year,” he said, “so we hope that buyers will realize that it’s still an unbelievably great time to get home loans. They’re still now in the low four-percent range for a 30-year fixed jumbo loan. So we hope that buyers realize, ‘Hey, we need to buy to be able to get a home now before these interest rates rise.’ Forecasts say home prices will have gradual increase.”
The MAR offers professional development and industry news for members along with community service opportunities. Malibu Realtors over the years have supported the Adopt a Highway program, which maintains a section of PCH, Red Cross Blood drives, the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu, Malibu High School’s Grad Night and have created an annual scholarship at MHS for graduating seniors with an entrepreneurial spirit. The Realtors have collaborated with the local Chamber of Commerce, Pepperdine University, Malibu City Council and city staff.
“In my opinion the most important thing the association does for its members is hold education seminars and classes, because it’s always important to keep on growing and learning as the industry evolves,” Ogden told The Malibu Times. “One of the most important things is making sure that our congressmen — all of our people in the government — that if they’re going to be passing laws, that we ensure that these are things that will support and benefit the industry and also to support homeownership.”
MAR Executive Director Susan Manners expressed confidence in Ogden’s leadership.
“This will be the second time Matt Ogden will serve as president,” Manners said. “He is an amazing leader, an excellent communicator and collaborator. Matt was awarded Realtor of the Year in 2013 for his outstanding service to the organization. I feel fortunate to serve as his Executive Director and partner again this year.
“The professional real estate industry touches every aspect of life; Realtors are always there to help, donate and participate in their community. We look forward to another strong year of dedicated service.”