Huge Drop in Realtor Membership

By Mike Colpitts

Slammed by the real estate crash, the National Association of Realtors membership has dropped 21% since 2006 when real estate agents and brokers Assocation Logo began to realize markets were heading down to just 1.06-million members, according to a real estate survey conducted annually.

Real estate agents and brokers are also finding that the dramatic changes in the housing market has led them to work more, earn less and deal with more troubled properties like foreclosures and lenders’ short sales in order to make a living, the study by Inman News found. The huge drop in Realtor membership represents a major shift in the industry.

Foreclosures and bank-assisted short sales do not pay agents as much as sales of homeowners’ properties because banks require a discount to sell bank owned (REO) properties.

“The findings in the report, show in the past five years the national median sales price for existing homes has fallen 27% to $177,000,” said Inman News CEO Tim Smith, whose company specializes in news for agents and industry professionals.

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The survey reveals a startling picture from past studies taken during the peak of the market when home prices were reaching record levels in the U.S. and appreciation rates seemed like they were going no where but higher.

Commission income has shown a huge drop with 48.3% of agents’ surveyed saying they closed fewer than 11 transactions in 2010. Real estate agents, mortgage originators, new home builders and other real estate industry related professionals are filing for bankruptcy at more than five times the national average, according to a separate sampling of filings.

A nationwide glut of distressed properties has pressured real estate sales commissions. Frustrations shared by some survey respondents about deals falling through as a result of appraisals and purchasers unable to qualify for mortgage financing in the tough economic environment have resulted in hundreds of thousands of Realtors leaving the industry.