NEW YORK — Inman News readers have picked Re/Max founder Dave Liniger as the People’s Choice Most Influential Real Estate Leader in 2011.

Liniger’s selection, based on a popular vote by readers, was announced today during the Inman News Real Estate Connect conference in New York City, which runs through Jan. 13 at the Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.

Last year’s winner was tech blogger Chris Smith, who now serves as Inman News chief evangelist and is a major contributor the InmanNext agent advice and information website.

Liniger, 66, who co-founded Re/Max with wife Gail in 1973, serves as chairman of the board for the global franchisor and remains involved with company decisions. He often travels abroad to meet with new regional Re/Max owners, in places ranging from India to Argentina to Brazil.

Liniger oversaw the expansion of Re/Max global franchise operations to eight additional countries in 2011 — there is now a brand presence in every country in Central America and South America, and the franchisor has more than 90,000 affiliated real estate sales professionals in about 80 countries.

A resident of Castle Rock, Colo., Liniger consulted with lenders in 2011 about the need to improve the short-sale process, and he also advocated for higher conforming loan limits, less restrictive lending standards, and the availability of refinancing for underwater homeowners.

Liniger’s top 10 real estate predictions for 2012:

1. Continued low interest rates.
2. Home prices stabilizing and starting to rise.
3. Increasing numbers of home sales.
4. Rising inventories, mostly due to increased foreclosures.
5. Distressed properties will make up about half of all sales.
6. An improved short-sale process to help avoid foreclosure.
7. Homeownership rates continue to fall.
8. Foreign and domestic investors will buy 25 percent of homes.
9. Increasing reliance on real estate agents.
10. Increased use of mobile and social technologies.

Colleagues report that Liniger "starts his day early, and, most days, is the very first person to arrive at the office." The company has shared some of its success with charities such as the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Liniger’s hobbies include golf, boating, ballooning and car collecting — he was a part of a crew that sought to circle the globe in a high-flying balloon in 1999, and he has previously been a race-car driver and team owner.

Liniger also selected to the annual Inman 100 list of Most Influential Real Estate Leaders for 2011 — tht list is separate and distinct from the individual People’s Choice recognition, and is based on a reader nomination process and an in-house review and selection process by Inman News.

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