In an analysis released Feb. 5, following a 2.1% annual membership decline in January, National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun said in the comment section that it was mainly due to the housing market’s poor performance in 2023, and that hopefully the numbers will improve this year.
“Membership figures were the third highest in January,” he wrote. “However, further membership decline should be anticipated, given the reduction in business opportunities over the past two years. Most state and local associations should anticipate further declines in membership over the next 24 months based on the lag effects of past housing cycles. Assuming home sales recover in 2024, membership could rise from 2026.”
NAR membership was 2.1% lower in January than at the same time a year earlier, dropping to 1,515,837, down 5.3% from October 2022, when NAR’s membership hit its peak at 1.6 million. NAR had a net loss in members last year for the first time since 2012.
A total of 136,374 new members joined NAR in 2023, while 162,741 members exited, for a net loss of 26,367 members last year.
“To date, the membership figures are holding on much better than the market dynamics suggest,” added Yun. “Existing-home sales fell to the lowest (number) since 1995, nearly 30 years. Inventory of listings is at historic lows.
RISMedia recently asked NAR for specifics on how it plans to maintain membership.
“We have consistently evolved over the course of our history to meet the demands of an ever-changing real estate landscape,” the organization said in an emailed reply. “We will continue to communicate the value of NAR to members. NAR supports members’ small businesses through advocacy efforts as well as by offering learning opportunities and resources, proprietary tech tools, economic research and property data, legal and risk management support, special offers and savings on small business solutions and in-person and virtual networking events.”