Happy 20 HAREM!

HAREM, the Hungarian Association of Real Estate Management, just celebrated its 20th anniversary. On this occasion, HAREM welcomed Mrs Claudine Speltz, Vice President of CEPI and President of CEAB, to represent the European network. Established in 1990 after the fall of the Berlin wall and in response the need to organise the profession, HAREM today counts 65 members (property management companies). The association was already a member of CEPI even before Hungary joined the EU.

In his keynote speech, the Secretary general, Dr Miklos Nemeth (previously Vice-President for three years), stressed the importance of the work on standardisation in the field of property management, as well as of educational programs, including EUREDUC, in close partnership with other associations.

Mrs Speltz on her side, made a brief and general overview of the current situation of property managers. 2008 was the year that fortunes changed and the market fell back down to earth. The crisis in its different phases was reflected in the state of the housing market in Europe. 2009 was a year of very mixed fortune. Although EU countries had some common experiences, the market performance above all varied to a great extend from region to region. The structural economic weaknesses at national and regional level strongly impacted and coloured the housing market developments, which results in a very fractioned landscape.

The profession now has to answer some major challenges. Ms Speltz not only stressed some challenges for professionals individually; she also insisted on the fact that most of the challenges need to be answered collectively.

As regards Hungary in particular, she stated that differentiation, quality measurement, client orientation and bench marking represent key investments for property professionals who wish to remain at the forefront within Hungary and cross border. Adequate and supportive regulation, both at national and European level, needs to give support to new opportunities in the market and enable smaller markets to benefit more fully from their comparative advantage in the international arena. Education and lifelong learning opportunities must accompany all professionals to increase competence and improve positioning in a fast moving market environment. Hungary as a country and the Hungarian professionals are not without important assets to actively participate in future development of the European real estate market.