NAR membership dipped for the first time in 11 years

Tumultuous year for trade group also ended four-year streak of record numbers

NAR Membership Dipped in 2023 — The First in 11 Years
NAR president Tracy Kasper (Photo Illustration by Steven Dilakian for The Real Deal with Getty and NAR)

A difficult housing market, leadership upheaval and wave of antitrust suits made up a tumultuous year for the National Association of Realtors — and its first membership dip in more than a decade.

Full-year membership in NAR declined by 1.7 percent in 2023, Inman reported. The drop by more than 26,000 members marked the first decrease in NAR’s ranks since 2012 and brought the group to 1.55 million members at the end of the year.

NAR reported record membership at the end of each of the past four years, but the groundswell of Realtors saw signs of slowing ahead of 2023. After annual membership grew 6.9 percent from the end of 2020 to the end of 2021, it increased only 1.4 percent from 2021 to 2022.

A slowed housing market was expected to bring a hit to NAR membership, as fewer home sales means fewer commissions available to agents, sidelining some from transactions. Elevated mortgage rates cooled activity markets and only started leveling off in the final weeks of the year.

Other major developments of the year in any crystal ball, though.

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First, there was a sexual harassment scandal in the summer involving then-president Kenny Parcell, who resigned amid allegations against him in September. 

A leaked memo in the aftermath of Parcell’s resignation indicated other NAR leaders were aware of accusations before they became public, leading staff members to call for a complete overhaul of leadership; chief executive officer Bob Goldberg stepped down in November, ahead of schedule.

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The first in two landmark antitrust lawsuits against the trade group’s commission rule headed to trial in the fall. On Halloween, a jury found NAR and two brokerages liable for colluding with two major brokerages to keep commissions high. NAR has vowed to appeal the ruling, which could hook the defendants to billions worth of damages and has opened the door to copycat lawsuits across the country.

The plagues facing NAR have led some brokerages, including Redfin, to rebuke the trade group and require agents to cancel their membership in NAR where possible.

Holden Walter-Warner

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