NAR membership falls by nearly 6,000 in November
After a tumultuous year for NAR and the industry, membership in the nation's largest trade organization is headed for its first yearly drop in over a decade.
Membership in the National Association of Realtors is on track for its first year-over-year decline since 2012 after nearly 6,000 members left the association in November.
A closer look at the numbers: NAR bills itself as "nation's largest trade association, representing 1.5 million members" — and that is still the case with NAR at 1,572,093 members in November vs. 1,578,077 in October and 1,578,117 in November 2022.
While the decline is small given NAR's size, the association ended 2022 with 1,580,971 members — a number it appears unlikely to reach this year, as membership tends to drop further between November and December.
The last time the association closed the year with fewer members than the year before was also the last time membership fell below one million — it ended 2012 with 999,824 members.
The biggest annual declines came from Colorado, where membership was down a whopping 8.67% from the end of November last year; Washington, D.C., which saw a decline of 8.06%; Maryland, which was down 5.22%; and Washington State, down 5.08%.
What's driving this decline? A seasonal decrease in the number of Realtors is not uncommon, but this year has not been typical, with the organization facing commission lawsuits and leadership changes after revelations about its "culture of fear." This has also been a tough year for the housing market overall, with high interest rates and continuing low inventory.
Redfin and Coldwell Banker Danforth made high-profile withdrawals from the organization earlier this year, and lawsuit settlements from Anywhere and RE/MAX include provisions that no longer require NAR membership.
NAR dues going up: In May, NAR voted to increase its annual dues, which are paid every January, to $156 (from $150) plus a $45/year fee to support customer advertising. NAR is facing annual deficits of $10-$15 million over the next few years, a spokesperson confirmed at the time, and was forecasting a 15% drop in membership from a high of 1,580,971 at the end of 2022.