David Lereah, the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors trade group, is moving on from this position to assist a secretive project at Move Inc., a company that operates the NAR-affiliated Realtor.com property-search site.

Lereah, who critics have said tends to view the real estate market with rose-colored glasses, will join Move in mid-May to serve as an executive vice president and as chairman and partner with Allan Dalton in a “transformational” new business entity, Move announced today.

Dalton, a former president for Move’s Realtor.com operations, is president and CEO for the hush-hush venture, which the company expects to launch in the third quarter. In the past few months Move has announced a series of consumer-focused enhancements, such as improved search tools and a series of blogs that focus on a range of real estate categories.

“David Lereah has established himself as the ultimate expert for the real estate industry,” Dalton said in a statement. “Having David partner with me on this new venture will ensure that consumers and the industry will benefit from his unparalleled knowledge of financial issues and the real estate marketplace.”

Mike Long, CEO for Move Inc., said in a statement, “David brings vast real estate savvy and knowledge to the company that will help guide us in our next phase of growth and expansion with new ventures.”

As the Realtor group’s chief economist for the past seven years, Lereah has often been quoted in the media for his market forecasts and commentary. He has authored several books, including “The Rules for Growing Rich: Making Money in the New Information Economy” (2000); “Why the Real Estate Boom Will Not Bust — And How You Can Profit from It: How to Build Wealth in Today’s Expanding Real Estate Market” (2006); and “All Real Estate is Local: What You Need to Know to Profit in Real Estate — in a Buyer’s and a Seller’s Market” (2007).

“David is an expert on real estate and the economy, and his stature and expertise enhanced NAR’s position as the most credible source on economic and policy issues affecting the housing industry in the United States and abroad,” said Dale Stinton, NAR executive vice president and CEO, in a statement. “We wish him the greatest success in his new endeavor.”

Before joining NAR, Lereah served as chief economist for the Mortgage Bankers Association of America trade group and acted as the chief operating officer with responsibility for MBA’s research, business development, industry technology, education, marketing, public affairs and meetings divisions.

He also oversaw the MBA’s Research Institute for Housing America and Societas, an international lending institute, and he simultaneously served as president and CEO for Lender Technologies Corp., an MBA subsidiary that specializes in technology and information for the mortgage lending industry.

Before his stint with the MBA, Lereah was managing principal and CEO for Vantage Financial Group Inc., a consulting company focused on financial and investment management for the banking and real estate industries. He has also served as chief economist for Sovran Bank, a predecessor of NationsBank and BankAmerica, and served on the asset/liability and investment committees for the bank’s holding company.

He earlier spent several years as a bank regulator and a financial economist for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and was an economic advisor to the American Bankers Association. Lereah began his career at University of Virginia and the Graduate School of Management at Rutgers University, where he specialized in banking issues, market information problems and financial market research.

Also, Lereah has served on several boards and advisory councils, including Velao Interactive Solutions Corp., EZ Archive Corp., The Harvard University Industrial Economist Council, the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego, the Gerson Lehman Advisory Council and the National Housing Conference, Center for Housing Policy. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics and marketing from American University in Washington, D.C., and a doctorate degree in economics from the University of Virginia at Charlottesville, Va.

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