The development and marketing of real estate had become a popular source of income and had become fairly common throughout the Middle Ages. Property ownership was a symbol of wealth and a means of safeguarding the valuable assets of the wealthy. As an established industry, the real estate market flourished and was brought with European colonists to the United States.
By 1855, the first real estate brokerage company was established and by 1908, the National Association of Real Estate Agents, the predecessor to today’s National Association of Realtors, was founded. The association became the originator of the term “realtor” to distinguish members from other agents.
Real estate is sensitive to economic ups and downs. Throughout the 19th and early 20th century, the combination of capitalism and growing populations made land-use expansion a hot market.
The economic prosperity of the 1920s brought about an enormous surge in real estate, especially in housing, but by the mid-1930s, 16 million people were unemployed, and the demand for real estate of all types declined.
A precursor to the house flipping trend was the ratification of The Federal Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) legislation. On September 14, 1960, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation that combined the greatest strengths of real estate and stock-based investment to create a new way of producing income.
By the 1960s, MLSs began sprouting up state by state. In 1970, the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation, or Freddie Mac, was established.
By the 1980s, home loan rates were at historic highs while the 1990s heralded a new era in real estate as listings became available online.