Keeping Tabs on NAR Membership


NAR Treasurer Greg Hrabcak reported at the National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors meeting Thursday that membership stood at 1,509,195 as of April 30. That’s higher than the numbers reported in February and March but roughly 2% lower than a year ago.

Hrabcak, a Westerville, Ohio, broker specializing in commercial real estate, said the number of REALTORS® remains several percentage points ahead of the association’s forecast.

NAR leaders began planning for fewer members back in 2021. With inflation heating up, they reasoned, interest rates would climb causing markets to cool, driving some licensees to take jobs outside of real estate.

“When there are fewer market opportunities, some people leave the business. It’s as simple as that,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

NAR Director of Library Operations Frederik Heller says, “The Great Depression was probably the most extreme example. The association lost over 50% of its members between 1929 and 1934. Despite it all, NAR navigated through the hard times and even strengthened its advocacy efforts.”

For two decades, Yun has watched membership numbers ebb and flow with the real estate cycles. In the early 2000s, NAR had a surge in membership. But in the aftermath of the Great Recession, the number of members fell by 29%—from 1.4 million to 1 million—before starting another upward climb.

“Generally, there’s a lag time of about 18 to 24 months between when the market cools and membership declines,” he says. That’s because people who have paid membership dues for the year remain members, even as they leave the business for other opportunities. They may even retain their membership the following year in the hope that the market will pick up.

For planning purposes, Yun provides NAR leaders with a regular analysis of membership data. In his latest analysis, based on February data, he said the association could expect further declines. However, “assuming home sales recover, membership could rise again beginning in 2026.”

Today’s report allayed fears that membership would decline more than expected as a result of organizational changes or the pending class-action litigation settlement. The numbers indicate that members continue to recognize the value of the advocacy, resources and tools available through NAR.

Thursday’s Board of Directors meeting capped off the 2024 REALTORS® Legislative Meetings. More than 8,000 REALTORS® and guests were in Washington, D.C, this week to engage in policy discussions, visit their members of Congress, learn, network and conduct the business of the association.



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