Internationally, real estate suffers the same economic conditions that inhibit the business in this country; inflation, high mortgage rates and a growing shortage of both new rental and ownership homes.
A recent survey of 1,100 realty professionals in 41 countries found inflation was listed as the biggest problem, with the availability and cost of enery and a low rate of economic growth following. In strict terms of real estate, the cost of mortgage funds and affordability of housing headed the list of problems.
Nevertheless, some traditional real restate optimism prevailed. Thirty-five percent of respondents expect construction improvements over the next 12 months and 62 percent are a confident of improvement by 1985. A survey made a year earlier showed optimism at 25 percent and 49 percent, respectively.
Fifty-one percent of the respondents listed shortages in owner-occupied housing, while 72 percent found shortages in rental housing. Only 18 percent of the answers indicated an expectancy that housing prices will "accelerate significantly in the next year and only 25 percent expect significant increases by 1985.
Conducted by the economics divison of the National Association for the International Real Estate Federation, the study is the second annual sampling made of realty professionals in countries ranging from Finland, New Zealand, Japan and Nigeria to the U.S., Canada, France, Venezuela and the United Kingdom.
Philip A. Smaby, a Minneapolis Realtor who recently completed a term as president of the International Real Estate Federation that held its annual convention last month in Stockholm, has traveled more than 100,000 miles, through 28 countries.
"There's a shortage of housing almost everywhere and a desire for ownership by people who are rich and poor," he commented. "The common problem everywhere is the cost of housing and mortgage money. Even though we cannot appreciate our position in this market, the U.S. is actually better off than most other countries in those respects."
Smaby also said that realty professionals throughout the world look to this country for leadership and advancing educational techniques. He said that some of the more established nations are established nations are also using computer techniques in doing business.
"There is great interest in buying second homes in the U.S. especially condo apartments in Florida and the Sunbelt," Smaby added.
The Minneapolis Realtor, who was president of NAR four years ago, also said that statistics show a need for 1.1 billion new houses in all parts of the world, but mostly in developing nations, by the year 2000.
Other findings in the international real estate survey:
Usual down payments to buy houses range from 11 percent in Denmark to 80 percent in Gibralar. Average mortgage terms range from five years in Argentina, Cyprus and Korea to a 37-year mortgage in Switzerland.
Typically, mortgage payments average 30 percent to 36 percent. The average U.S. payment now is in that range.
The current environment for foreign investment is regarded as restrictive or moderately restrictive in regard to housing by only 27 percent of respondents, while 51 percent found the environment non-restrictive. However, 40 percent of the respondents expect government restriction on foreign investments in land and natural resources to increase in the next five years.
Sixty-three percent of the 328 U.S. respondents foresee a decrease in mortgage interest rates in the next year and 56 percent for the next five years. On the other hand, all but one respondent from Switzerland expect rates to increase next year.
In percentage of income used for down payments to buy houses, the figure is 32 percent in the U.S. and Canada but 48 percent in Taiwan and 50 percent in Argentina.
Reports of a shortage of rental housing were overwhelming in Canada, U.S., Austria, Finland, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Philippines, Israel, Nigeria and Pakistan. But only 11 percent of Japanese respondents listed a rental housing shortage, while 83 percent listed a surplus. Surplus rental housing was also reported overwhelmingly in Greece, Columbia, Denmark and Indonesia.
Norwegian responses were 100 percent on a shortage of ownership housings. Percentages over 50 on ownership housing shortages came from Canada, France, Italy, Indonesia, Philippines, Taiwan, Columbia, Tunisia, Nigeria, Israel and Venezuela.
In terms of private housing ownership, most respondents reported more or the same amount of housing ownership. In 1981, compared with 1980. But the Brazilian response was unanamious in reporting less ownership and the Finnish answer on less ownership was substantial.
In addition to the 328 survey answers from all parts of the U.S., the survey had 113 from the United Kingdom, 86 from Canada, 75 from Australia, 89 from West Germany, 81 from France and 47 from Switzerland. Only one or two answers came from realty agents in Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Uruguay and the United Arab emirates.
Jack Carlson, president and chief economist of the National Association of Realtors, commented that most respondents expects rents, world-wide, to increase faster than in the past.