Membership is very close to falling below the 1M threshold (1,005,838) for the first time since 2003.
The rise and fall of NAR membership with the S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Index is a logical trend in a commission driven profession with a low barrier to entry – although one would think membership would correlate better with number of sales rather than prices (Case Shiller or CSI is a price index i.e., not based on sales).
The public strongly and incorrectly relates the health of housing with prices rather than sales. Sales activity leads price direction by about a year and membership lags prices so the membership correlation to price probably reflects the time it takes people to jump into the profession when things seem to improve – the chart suggests 1-2 years. You can see the membership lag prices during the boom, at peak and when the market crashed.
In the period like now where the market is transitioning from bad to good, the sharp agents have the opportunity to do very well with less competition from those who were only in it for the quick buck.
The appraisal profession likely shows a similar pattern but perhaps would be more closely aligned with refi applications. On my “to do” list.