BAM Key Details:

  • The National Association of Realtors® previously published a monthly report on membership counts, with historic reports going back to the 1970s. 
  • The monthly reports—and all of the previous data—are no longer on the NAR website. 

    You may recall, at the start of the year, seeing industry headlines like NAR Sees 3rd Consecutive Decline in Membership.

    That’s because monthly reports from the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), were showing just that—declines in membership. 

    But now, those monthly reports, along with all the historic membership data, are missing from the NAR website. 

    Here’s what we know so far.

    NAR Removed Membership Reports

    On a recent episode of The Real Estate Rundown, Kala Laos, CEO and co-founder of Zoodealio, revealed an interesting finding after sitting down to do her monthly analysis of NAR membership numbers:

    “(NAR) had the membership reports published all the way back into the 70s, and all of them have been deleted from the site.”

    Kala Laos

    CEO and co-founder, Zoodealio

    After emailing NAR, Laos was told that the reports had been removed from the website and that if she wanted to find the Realtor® count for her local association, she could contact the board. BAM received a similar response. 

    Laos took it a step further and spoke to a NAR rep on the phone. While the rep noted that NAR has been receiving a lot of inquiries, she didn’t have any specific answers for Laos. After putting her on hold for about 15 minutes, the rep came back, said hello a couple of times, and hung up. 

    Historic Membership Reports

    As Laos noted on the podcast, NAR used to update its membership report every month, with historic data on agent count—both nationally and by state—dating back to the 1970s. 

    BAM last reported on NAR’s membership numbers at the start of February, when the report for January 2024 was published. At that time, membership had dropped for the third consecutive month, as outlined by the screenshot of NAR’s chart below:

    NAR_Latest-NAR-membership_January-2024

    At the time, Chief Economist Lawrence Yun addressed the decline, stating, “Further membership decline should be anticipated, given the reduction in business opportunities over the past two years.”

    However, if you go back to click on the link for the January report, users see “Page not found” on the NAR website. And the link to historic reports, which is noted on the char above, (https://nar.realtor/membership/historic-report) redirects to the main membership page. 

    Transparency in the Real Estate Industry

    One of the biggest takeaways from commission lawsuits is that more transparency in the real estate industry is needed. 

    Agents, teams, and brokerages across the U.S. are implementing systems and forms to make their work more transparent, not less—by educating consumers, sharing information about proposed changes, and communicating their value. 

    Yet, at the same time, it appears NAR is withholding information. When BAM asked a rep from member support about this, they reiterated that reports from local boards are still available to members, noting that “membership counts fluctuate very often so it requires a lot of updates.”

    NAR’s past monthly membership reports were detailed, so one can appreciate that they would take a lot of time to put together, and that time could be better used for something else. 

    So, why not just stop publishing reports moving forward? Why remove all past data from the site? When asked this, member support didn’t have an answer for the reasoning behind the decision. 

    Without a clear explanation from NAR, industry professionals are left to draw their own conclusions, despite any internal reasons for the decision to remove the reports. This situation illustrates a broader issue: the lack of transparency does not align well with the current push toward more openness in the real estate industry.