We have reached our all time highest REALTOR membership in Silver City!
I have had 6 new applications for membership in July alone! During the last housing boom in 1997 we had a record number of REALTORS ®, a total of 104. Through the late 90’s we saw membership decline slightly with our all time low membership of 74 REALTORS ® in 2002. It seems as though the last few years we have seen some come and go with numbers gradually increasing. This year, however we have seen an explosion of brokers leaving and entering the real estate business. I would say this is the highest amount of fluctuation ever in my 10 + years on the job. It is interesting to me that when the market is more of a slow-and-steady market we are seeing so many new faces. I would have thought that the boom would have happend in the super hot 2005 market, not two years later. NAR has predicted that number of REALTORS ® will peak this year. NAR is currently reporting 1.3 million members. The New Mexico Real Estate Commission, the licensing entity, states that there are currently 13,354 active and inactive real estate licensees. 10,730 of these licenses are active and 2,624 are on the inactive status.
Reading several of the articles on the Internet regarding this trend I found this article “How many agents is too many?”, with this interesting quote, “It stands to reason. The real estate schools are churning out new licensees as fast as McDonald™s serves burgers.” Another article was titled, “1 in 50 Now an Licensed Agent In California, Will the Madness Never End?”. And lastly, “It’s Past Time To Raise the Bar” by a Phoenix blogger. Here is a quote from his article “It takes 17.7 times as many classroom hours to get a barber™s license as it does a real estate sales license. Want to pluck eyebrows? Expect to spend almost 7 times longer in a classroom. Oh, and be sure you have two years of high school. You don't need ANY high school education to sell real estate.”
This this many new real estate licensees in our market makes me anxious. I know that sounds strange coming from a local executive at a REALTOR ® Association, members are my bread and butter. However, I worry that there are too few transactions to go around, too many experienced brokers and that these newer members will have a harder time making a living. That’s not to say that the more experienced members won’t struggle but they generally have a greater wealth of knowledge, better understanding of the marketplace and a long list of past customers to draw from. I also think that some of the new education requirements will result in the long time brokers leaving retiring to greener pastures.
It’s all very interesting to watch that is for sure…