Liftoff in Albuquerque!

By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine

This week, I’m riding along with the Home Ownership Matters Bus Tour as it begins the southwestern leg of its journey across the United States. In case you haven’t heard about the bus tour, its purpose is to provide a forum and outreach to state and local REALTOR® associations, as well as talk to the public and the media about why public policy that supports home ownership is so vital, not only for the real estate industry, but for all current home owners.

From my perspective, it’s a wonderful opportunity to get out and meet members from different regions of the country, hear what’s happening in their market, and bring back their message to NAR. It also helps shape story ideas and tools REALTOR® Magazine can offer members in the future.

No doubt about it, the bus is working, the pro-real estate message is getting out, and people are listening. Numerous local and national media outlets have been writing about the housing industry. And guess what? Most of the stories have been spreading the message about the value of home ownership.

Yesterday morning, we were welcomed at the Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS® with two giant hot air balloons! Yours truly climbed into one of the balloon baskets, but unfortunately, it was a bit too windy to fly. About 60 REALTORS® attended the event and both Board President Peter Parnegg and Steve Anaya, executive vice president of the REALTORS® Association of New Mexico, spoke poignantly about the industry. “We are going through a season that we’ve never experienced in home ownership in America. It doesn’t mean that it’s the last season, and it doesn’t mean that the basic dream that we’ve held for so long is to be extinguished,” Parnegg said. “It doesn’t mean that there is not spring and summer ahead of us.”

One interesting side note: Albuquerque is home to the largest hot air balloon festival in the world. How did hot air balloons get so popular there? Brenda Stewart, associate broker/REALTOR® with Real Living Premier REALTORS® explains.

Erica Christoffer

Erica Christoffer is a multimedia journalist and contributing writer and editor for REALTOR® Magazine. She can be reached at

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  1. It was a pleasure to welcome the NAR Home Ownership Matters Bus in Albuquerque to support the Greater Albuquerque Association Realtors promote the value of homeownership. Thank you, Erica, for a lovely article on your stopover. Sorry the wind didn’t co-operate for you to experience a hot-air balloon flight. It is an awesome experience. We hope you will visit again when we have calmer winds.

  2. Hi Erica,
    We were happy to play host to the NAR Bus as it travels across our great country—however, some of us were a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of an entourage representing NAR, present at the event. Rumor has it, that some other NAR-folk had been in Oklahoma City, and then flown on to Phoenix–sending you, the driver and the bus to make that trip without some of the other staff and/or leadership aboard, when you stopped to visit us Monday morning.
    And perhaps, you may have already heard this, Steve Anaya “is not” the 2012 President-elect of our local association, to succeed Peter Parnegg. Steve’s the Executive VP of the Realtors Association of New Mexico, representing all Realtors throughout the entire state (Mark Guggino is the 2012 President-elect of GAAR).
    Anyway, I’m sorry it was too windy for you to get a balloon ride, but thanks for including us on your interstate-odyssey, as you keep the message circulating! Keep up the good work….
    Steve Murtha, CRS
    Keller Williams Realty
    SWMLS Vice-President

  3. I enjoyed the HOM event, and it was fun to tour the interior of the bus. Thanks so much for the delicious breakfast and the giveaways I can share with my clients. I wear my “Home Ownership Matters” pin with pride.

  4. The NAR Home Ownership Matters bus is a great way to publicize the benefits of buying and owning a home. In Arizona, this would be especially beneficial for agents. Hot air balloon fests are popular in Maricopa County and throughout AZ as well.