Where the NAR is losing members

The National Association of Realtors saw its membership numbers drop 1.11% during the last month of the year, as 17,489 former members let their membership lapse. Year-over-year, from Dec. 31, 2022, and Dec. 31, 2023, NAR lost 26,367 members, a 1.67% annual decline, according to NAR’s monthly membership report.

The trade group closed out 2023 with 1,554,604 members. On a state-by-state basis, Washington state posted the largest yearly percentage decline, with NAR membership within the state dropping 9.5%, as the trade group lost nearly 2,200 members in the state. This decline may partially be attributed to the state’s largest MLS, Northwest MLS, not being affiliated with NAR, and the state being home to Redfin, which announced in October that it was asking agents to allow their NAR membership to lapse where possible.

Other areas that saw the largest annual percentage declines were Washington, D.C. (-8.7%), Colorado (-5.8%) and Maryland (-5.2%). Florida (225,563 members) and Texas (150,141 members) were the only large population states with year-over-year increases in NAR membership, at 1.1% and 0.2%, respectively. Of all 50 U.S. states, Arkansas, which had 11,251 NAR members at the end of 2023, saw the largest annual percentage uptick in NAR members at 3.4%.

Although it did not have the largest annual percentage decline, California, which finished the year with the second largest NAR membership base at 204,687 members, lost 9,251 NAR members in 2023.

Nationwide, the decline in NAR membership, which hit its highest count ever at the end of 2022, with 1,580,971 members, can be attributed to several different factors. The first is the overall decline in the housing market due to the volatile mortgage rate environment, low inventory and overall economic uncertainty. The combination of these factors resulted in existing home sales falling to an annual sales pace of 3.82 million in November 2023, a 7.3% year-over-year decrease. The sexual harassment allegations that caused chaos within NAR’s leadership and uncertainty created by the commission lawsuits have also caused some agents to leave NAR or the industry altogether. Additionally, some firms like Redfin, Anywhere and RE/MAX are no longer requiring agents to belong to NAR due to company policy changes and provisions in commission lawsuit settlement agreements.

In May, NAR announced that it would be indexing membership dues with inflation. At the time of this announcement, the trade group said it anticipated membership to drop by 15% over the next few years.