NAR targets nervous US home buyers in new push

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has launched a media outreach and ad campaign intended to reassure home buyers potentially frightened by reports of a sustained downturn in the US real-estate market.

WASHINGTON: The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has launched a media outreach and ad campaign intended to reassure home buyers potentially frightened by reports of a sustained downturn in the US real-estate market.

Burson-Marsteller, which has been working on this project for about a month, is assisting the group with an SMT featuring NAR president Tom Stevens. The firm is also coordinating ANRs, booking talk-radio appearances, leading other media outreach efforts, and distributing related print materials to local NAR groups around the US.

The PR component is part of NAR's approximately $2 million marketing campaign, which includes ads running in dailies like The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. A TV and radio ad campaign will also launch in January and run through November 2007.

Despite some reports of monthly price declines for previously owned homes - down 2.2% in the month of September - the NAR is emphasizing that mortgage interest rates remain historically low and that inventories of available homes are declining. There are solid facts supporting its argument that the market is "bottoming out," said Steve Cook, NAR's VP of public affairs and strategic planning.

"It's not an 'anti-media' campaign," to counter negative commentary on the real-estate market, Cook said. "The point of our program is to encourage buyers to take advantage of current conditions. If you've been thinking about buying, this is a good time to take advantage. If you've been considering selling your home, conditions will improve."

Cook added that the print ad buys on November 3 and November 10 are part of a larger, $40 million annual "public awareness" campaign conducted by the NAR which bookend its annual convention, held this year in New Orleans.

The convention, the largest since Hurricane Katrina struck the city, is expected to attract some 30,000 of the NAR's total 1.3 million members.

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