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Among real estate agents, Romney by a landslide

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis July 17, 2012 07:21 AM

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Romney is a favorite among local real estate agents and brokers. A big favorite.

The former governor, our best known prodigal son, gets nearly 70 percent of the real estate vote here in Massachusetts, HomeGain reports.

Not bad for a guy who has spent the last several years trashing our great state as some sort of liberal madhouse.

Here's an excerpt from my weekly Banker & Tradesman column, where I covered the poll results in detail.

It's a rather rich reward for Massachusetts' most prominent prodigal son. Romney turned a blind eye to the housing bubble during his time as governor and has spent the years since building his political career by tearing down the state that launched him onto the national stage.

Amazingly, our Realtors are even more staunchly pro-Romney than their counterparts across the country, red states and all - and that's saying a lot given how conservative a bunch the men and women who sell homes for a living are.

Romney wins only 57 percent of the vote in HomeGain's national poll, with Ron Paul taking 12 percent and Obama 31 percent. In a sign that our local Realtors haven't lost all sense, in the Massachusetts poll, Paul got a big fat zero.

By contrast, President Obama appears universally disliked in real estate sales offices across the Bay State.

In a mirror image of the Romney numbers, 70 percent of local real estate folks tallied say they "strongly disapprove" of his performance. The president's fan club is miniscule, with only 10 percent saying they "strongly approve" of his performance.

So is this fair?

While Obama has certainly done his share to mess up the real estate market, Romney did little to grapple with skyrocketing prices and looming foreclosures during his one term as governor.

As I note in my B&T column:

Romney is a smart guy and by all accounts a pretty sharp businessman. But despite a few early flashes of promise, Romney spent the last two years of his one term in office running for president instead of trying to come to grips with the Bay State's increasingly intractable real estate woes.

The more things change, the more they stay the same here in Massachusetts, with high home prices and anemic new construction, especially within the 495 beltway, slowly but surely putting the squeeze on our vibrant economy.

To his credit, Romney saw through to the core of the problem - draconian local restrictions on land development that had all but shut down new housing construction. And instead of pandering to politically powerful local officials, Romney proposed a tough series of penalties for communities that tried to zone out new homes and condos.

It was a good idea, but it got batted about and watered down on Beacon Hill, finally fading away after Romney began campaigning in earnest for the Republican presidential nomination just about two years after he got elected in November 2002.

Romney's track record was not so hot, though, when it came to spotting the budding subprime mortgage crisis, which in the mid-2000s was already starting to trigger an alarmingly rapid increase in foreclosures in urban neighborhoods across the state.

It was a matter of picking up the paper or doing a little research. But Romney, like so many other state and national leaders at the time, was apparently too busy with the business of getting ahead to be bothered.

Funny thing, as foreclosures mounted, Romney cut back on the number of state mortgage and bank inspectors.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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