Celebrating More Than Three-quarters of a Century of Service To the Daytona Beach Area
The 1920s were exciting years in the history of the Daytona Beach area. It also was the social and political climate into which the Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® Inc. was born.
The establishment of the real estate industry in the area can be traced back to 1922 when the Association received its charter from the national and state governing bodies. At the time, the group had fewer than 20 members. Since then many things changed in the Daytona Beach area. At the same time, many of the issues that concerned that first group of REALTORS® are things that the area is still grappling with today – attracting industry, promoting tourism and improving the quality of life for area residents.
Taming the Great Florida ‘Swamp Rush’
The first few years of the Association’s existence saw it trying to bring order to a chaotic – and often corrupt- real estate market. Mandatory regulations and registration of brokers and salespeople was implemented in 1923. In 1925, Florida was the site of a speculative land boom. Investors promoters and fly-by-night operators arrived from across the country. Prices soared and cheap lot propositions flourished. Daily sales often exceeded 100 lots – with the same lot being bought and sold as often as six times a day. Often lots were purchased sight unseen and new owners were invariably disappointed when they arrived and found that they had sunk their life savings into what amounted to Florida swamp land.
The REALTORS® Association, in an effort to protect the public and restore order, began investigating any subdivision of any developer who requested it, and publicly endorse any that met the group’s standards. The Association also hired a detective to investigate complaints of unethical activities. At the peak of the land boom, more than 70 percent of area business people were in the real estate business. The Depression brought an end to the land boom and its surrounding chaos. However, it brought with it new challenges for maintaining the area’s prosperity.
Voice for Economic Development
The Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® has long been a proponent of the area’s economic, tourism and community development efforts. In the early ‘60s the REALTORS® Association lobbied for roads to be built to the area from around the state – including securing the extension of I-95 all the way south to Cape Kennedy, and closer to Daytona Beach. The group also initiated and carried out the impressive city improvement projects such as the “Cinderella Project” in 1956, which saw the widening of South Atlantic Avenue from the south city limits to Dunlawton. The appropriation of $467,000 for this project was the first one in the history of the State of Florida on the peninsula.
The Daytona Beach Area Association of REALTORS® has been active in attracting industry since the early ‘50s when Mayor Tamm of Daytona Beach suggested that REALTORS® could “aid materially to bring in types of business that bring outside income in the city.” The Board’s early efforts led to the formulation of the “Committee of 100” – the group credited with bringing General Electric to Daytona Beach with its “Industry for Pay – Beaches for Play” campaign. The group also lobbied – and won – additional daily flights into Daytona Beach Airport. In addition, the Board initiated a downtown redevelopment effort which saw the downtown business owners forming their own corporation and hiring a planner to rehabilitate the area.
Bringing Tourists to the World’s Most Famous Beach
Tourism issues have always been important to the REALTORS® Association since the industry plays such a vital role in the economic well-being of the community. In 1925, several REALTORS® noted that tourists were being directed to the West Coast of Florida. A committee was formed to examine possibilities for increasing the flow of tourists to the area. The following year saw the Board asking the city to enlarge the existing Burgoyne Casino so it could accommodate conventions and exhibitions. At the same time, the Board asked the City to pass an ordinance requiring hotels to establish and post room rates in each room in response to complaints received from visitors.
Responding to a downturn in summer tourism, the REALTORS® Association convened a special meeting in 1937 to decide how to promote Daytona Beach as a summer vacation resort. Six REALTORS® volunteered to travel through West Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee – at their own expense – to talk to merchants and householders and to give them souvenirs and literature. This is believed to be the beginning of Daytona Beach as a summer vacation spot.
Lending a Helping Hand Since 1922
Today, REALTORS® and their association are active in all aspects of life in the Daytona Beach Area. From coaching Little League and mentoring school children to holding public office, REALTORS® are everywhere. The REALTORS® Association with more than 1,800 members, continues to champion causes that it sees as enriching the area.
Throughout the long history of the Daytona
Beach Area Association of REALTORS®, the basic tenets of
REALTORS® service to the community remain unchanged. The group
is dedicated to the economic and social development of the
Daytona Beach area for the benefit of all residents.