On November 25, 1929, 41 real estate brokers came together to discuss the formation of the “Newport Harbor Realty Board”. Lew Wallace was elected chairman and eventually become the original President of the Board. The body, meeting at the Mesa Tavern, adopted a Consititution and Bylaws. By February of 1930, there were 20 members and the annual dues were $1.00. Cash on hand was $950.40. Parts of the area were known as “Mackeral Flats”, “Goat Hills”, and “The Mesa”. The population of Newport Beach was only 2,500 and Costa Mesa boasted year-round residents numbering over 3,000.
Members in 1930 were concerned with increases in the cost of title insurance and the high cost of insurance for building and residences. The completion of Lido Island improvements was welcome news in August of 1930. Original waterfront lots on Lido sold for $1800 (now they go for up to $3.9 million) and inside lots were $700. The average down payment was $10.00. Financing was difficult to obtain, so two REALTORS®, P.O. “Pappy” Palmer and Joe Beek formed Newport Balboa Savings and Loan Association to assist with financing the property on Lido Island. The Company was later sold to Imperial Savings and Loan Association.
It cost $25.00 for a Broker to join the Realty Board in 1931 plus a payment of $20.00 per year for local, state and national dues. Members advocated cleaning up the “unhealthy conditions in Costa Mesa” as it was having an “unfavorable reaction in selling property in that area”. REALTORS® promoted a ferry between Corona del Mar and the Peninsula to relieve Coast Highway traffic and lobbied for a planning and zoning program for Newport Beach. In 1933, three REALTORS® traveled to Washington D.C. and obtained federal aid to help develop Newport Harbor. The east and west jetties were extended and the lower bay dredged. The new harbor was dedicated in May 1936. The SP Railroad “Red Car” was abandoned from Santa Ana to Newport Beach and the Arches separation was constructed by the State of California. A sea wall was constructed around Balboa Island in 1937 and in 1940 both Newport and Balboa piers were rebuilt. The members recommended the City adopt an ordinance against displaying signs on properties for sale or rent “because visitors to the area might think we’re all going bankrupt”.
In 1943, there were 73 members, up from a low of 7 members in the ‘30’s. The demand for rental housing was far in excess of supply during World War II and many REALTORS® sold war bonds. Rent control was established and also a Rental Advisory Board for the decontrol of the Harbor rental area. It took twenty years for the Board to formalize the marketing function into the Multiple Listing Service as we know it today. It cost $1.00 to submit a listing to the Board for 6 months. In 1949 the first multiple listing form was adopted. In its first year (1948) sales of $388,902 were reported by the new Multiple Listing Service. In 1985, the total sales reported for all classes of property, was $11,378,300. In 1939, the average assessed value of property in Newport was $13,900. In 1944 it was $15,900 and by 1949 it had risen to $31,300. In 1985, the average sales price of a residential dwelling in Costa Mesa was $126,713; Newport Beach was $284,364 and Corona del Mar $206,000. In December 1987, there were 11 sales in excess of $1 million dollars causing the average sales price to rise to $336,512. Continued appreciation has brought the average price to $561, 049 in August of 1989.
The name of the Board was changed to Newport Harbor Board of REALTORS® and in 1949, the Board began to promote educational seminars for the members, many in conjunction with the neighboring Boards.
The 1950’s were very different from today. The Board set the commission rates that Brokers were to charge for their services, with summer lease rates set at 10% commission and annual lease rates at 5%. Salesmen were considered employees and Brokers were required to deduct social security and federal income tax from their commission checks. The Board members were still promoting a city ordinance to prohibit signs in the city. The Board leased office space at 410 32nd Street in Newport Beach in August, 1951 and a full-time executive secretary was hired. The Board incorporated in 1953 and in the same year multiple listing sales of over $500,000 were recorded.
In 1955 ground was broken for the current location at 401 North Newport Boulevard. Board officers attended the official ground breaking ceremonies of Hoag Memorial Hospital in September and donated $1,250.00 to the building fund for the hospital. A bus was hired to caravan properties twice a week. By 1959 there were four full time employees at the Board office to assist members. A formal petition was sent to the Regents at the University of California to place a new campus in Orange County. They were successful and plans were made for what is now UC at Irvine.
The name of the Board was changed again, this time to include Costa Mesa. A new charter was issued by the state association to the Newport Harbor-Costa Mesa Board of REALTORS® in May 1960. In 1964, sales for the year were reported to be nearly $3,000,000 and in 1968 a REALTOR® committee proposed procuring a more suitable site for Orange County Airport and attempted to prohibit any additional commercial jet traffic. In the mid seventies, the Board waged a fight with the State Board of Equalization in their attempt to collect sales tax to be paid on the sale of all MLS books.
In 1989, the membership voted to change the name again. In November of 1989 the National Association approved the new “Newport-Mesa Association of REALTORS®”.
In 1993, the California Association of REALTORS® dropped the jurisdictional boundaries for which a board services. In 1994, the membership voted to change the associations name to better serve the members from areas outside the city limits of Costa Mesa and Newport Beach. In July of 1995 the National Association of REALTORS® approved the new “Orange Coast Association of REALTORS®”.
Today we are known as the “Newport Beach Association of REALTORS®”. In November 2004 the National Association of REALTORS® approved our name change. Today, as in the past, REALTORS® are active in city councils, commissions, boards, service clubs and philanthropic organizations, all doing their part to promote private property rights and the opportunity to enjoy it.
There is room for YOU to help your fellow REALTOR®. Have you thought about serving on a committee or participating in one of the many social functions?
City of Costa Mesa – www.costamesaca.gov
Costa Mesa Redevelopment Agency (First time home buyer programs) – www.cmredevelopment.org/rda-programs.htm
City of Newport Beach – www.newportbeachca.gov
Newport Beach Unified School District – www.nmusd.k12.ca.us
California Department of Real Estate –www.dre.ca.gov
HUD, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development – www.hud.gov
Apartment Association of Orange County – www.aaoc.com
Megan’s Law Database Search – www.meganslaw.ca.gov
Orange County Recorders Office – www.ocgov.com/recorder/
Orange County Assessor’s Office – www.ocgov.com/assessor/
Orange County Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office – www.ttc.ocgov.com/treas/index.asp
California Contractors State License Board – www.cslb.ca.gov
Department of Corporations – www.corp.ca.gov
Department of Insurance – www.insurance.ca.gov
Certified Real Estate Appraisers Institute – www.creia.org