NAR: Departed Dirtbag Claims Innocence
Has NAR Peaked?
The President of NAR was allegedly a huge dirt bag who managed the office with fear, harassment, intimidation, retaliated by firing people and had sexual relations with employees … has resigned. Kenny Parcell officially resigned via a letter where he admitted no wrongdoing. Not coincidentally, this was just two days after the New York Times revealed a slew of accusations from 29 employees at the National Association of Realtors.
From the Times article: “One woman said the man put his hands down his pants in front of her. Another woman said the same man texted her a picture of his crotch. A third woman said she had a consensual relationship with the man, only to have him retaliate after it ended.”
This comes at a turbulent time for NAR, which is embattled with racial discrimination issues in its membership, as well as being the target of the AG Merrick Garland on price fixing charges, As well as the retirement of Bob Goldberg, NAR CEO. Ethics, or a lack there of, have been virtually swept under the rug under Kenny’s leadership. How can an industry be expected to do anything but follow its leaderships seeming lack of a moral compass?
What Goes Up
What’s baffling, is that membership in the “nation’s largest trade organization” is shockingly, up. With 1,566,354. dues paying agents at the end of july report, business is good, and membership was up ½% y/y nationwide. This despite slowing home sales, dropping by 1M y/y. Or put another way, there are fewer home sales and more agents. With high rates, fewer people are moving. This growth of NAR can not continue at this rate – and I’d predict, will begin to decline over the next year. I would guess there are between 50k to100k fewer agents this time next year.
NAR’s Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun, agrees, projecting a membership decline by an estimated 15% over the next couple of years. However his report was not very specific on when. NAR has peaked, and soon will come back to earth – both from a membership standpoint and financially. It’s time to short NAR.
It’s all about the Benjamins
NAR is funded by dues, paid by members every January. This fee is currently $150. A 4% increase y/y was approved by vote in May. With this change, dues will increase to $156 per year in 2024. This is in addition to a $45/year fee to support consumer advertising. ($201 total) This move comes against a backdrop of increasing expenses and projected falling membership numbers.
Quick Math: NAR collected $315 Million in dues and consumer advertising fees this year. Yet with turbulent times underfoot and projected ahead – rather than cut costs, NAR decided to raise dues.
With Major leadership changes at the top, now is a great time for the Association to reflect, and make major changes going forward.
–Require advanced continuing education on redlining, discrimination and lean into / accept the errors of your past
-Raise the requirements for membership to be meaningful to the public and qualified (more than a barber)
-Remove buyer compensation and price fixing,
-Work to incorporate rental programs into the main stream
-Assist with affordability programs for first time home buyers in a meaningful manner
Clearly this was not happening under the leadership of a Dirtbag. Perhaps this can be a new era filled with opportunity and growth for membership, and housing.