National Association of Realtors logo and an abstract background of businesspeople and buildings.
Illustration by Lanette Behiry/Real Estate News

3 top takeaways from NAR’s legislative meetings 

Membership numbers defied expectations, while member dues and leadership announcements paint a picture of an association focused on stability.

May 13, 2024
3 minutes

Key points:

  • Despite facing a rival association in the wake of internal challenges, membership unexpectedly rose in April.
  • Dues, on the other hand, will remain unchanged for 2025.
  • The leadership team was confirmed, with President Kevin Sears holding on to the role for nearly an extra year.

Last week's legislative meetings shed some light on where the National Association of Realtors is heading in the coming year.

The series of meetings, which took place May 4-9 in Washington, D.C., largely focused on hitting a reset button after a challenging year of leadership changes, buyer agent commission litigation and a reckoning over internal sexual harassment issues

Here are three key takeaways.

Membership numbers actually rose

After a rough year that included the founding of a competing trade organization, membership at the end of April was 1,509,195 — higher than February or March, when it dipped below 1.5 million

While the numbers are still about 2% lower than a year ago, membership is several percentage points better than what the association forecasted, said NAR Treasurer Greg Hrabcak.

It's possible that NAR's March 15 settlement contributed to member retention, as the agreement protects individual members from further litigation over the commission antitrust cases. That settlement is scheduled to be finalized in November.

The organization is still expecting membership levels to fall for economic reasons, as some agents will leave the industry due to the ongoing challenges of the low-inventory housing market. 

NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said there's generally a lag time of between 18 to 24 months from when the market cools and membership declines. It's been about two years since interest rates first started rising to combat inflation.

That lag time works the other way as well: Yun said that even if home sales start to recover this year, membership might not begin rising again until early 2026.

No change in dues despite big NAR payout 

Following NAR's announcement of its $418 million deal, some believed the association would raise membership dues to help recoup some of that money. At the meetings, NAR confirmed that dues would remain at $156 per member in 2025.

The decision to hold dues steady was based on the favorable membership numbers and other financial statements, according to Hrabcak.

The next slate of leaders was finalized

There were no surprises in NAR's 2025 leadership announcements — likely a welcome change after a year of turmoil at the top. While not unexpected, it's notable that current NAR President Kevin Sears will continue in that role through 2025, significantly extending what is typically a one-year term. Sears took over the role earlier than expected after the resignations of former presidents Kenny Parcell in August and Tracy Kasper in January.

The leadership team in 2025 will include Sears as president; Kevin Brown of Oakland, California, as president-elect; Christine Hansen of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as first vice president; and Craig Sanford of Phoenix as treasurer.

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