Russell Shaw is one of my favorite bloggers and today he predicts significant NAR membership declines over the next two years, lamenting that it will take that long:
Looking at the pattern of number of members of the NAR, plotted against number of sales made, it is clear that on the way up there is no meaningful lag in the agent numbers. On the way down takes a bit for the flock to properly thin. They are already on the way out – but in addition to being inefficient at selling homes they are even inefficient at leaving.
In addition to being hilarious with the line “even inefficient at leaving,” Russell is dead on with this assessment (which is just one of many reason why he’s a monster producer in Phoenix). I wrote back in September that I’ve been predicting agent declines for years, and been consistently wrong, but the market continued strong throughout that time. Now that the market has most definitely turned south in many, many markets, an agent decline is inevitable and it’s likely to be BIG. My prediction (basically copying Russell): a return to 1 million NAR members by the end of 2009.
I’d love to hear from our MLS clients, or any others out there, about what they are budgeting for membership the next two years. Is my prediction accurate? Who’s prepared for that possibility?