Membership in the National Association of Realtors, the largest housing industry trade group, reached a record high of 1.41 million in October.
That’s 2.2% higher than the 1.37 million members recorded in October 2006, the pre-bust peak, according to the trade group’s data. In the wake of the financial crisis, sparked by a 2008 surge of foreclosures, the group’s membership bottomed at 963,455 in March 2012 before starting to trend upward again.
The state with the biggest jump in members in October from a year earlier was Georgia, up 6.82%, followed by Idaho, with a 6.63% gain, and Alabama, up 6.1%. North Carolina increased 5.89%, Tennessee grew 5.22%, and Texas was up 5.12%.
In California, the nation’s most populous state, NAR membership increased 0.57% in the same period, and in New York, it gained 3.31%.
Delaware was the U.S. state with the biggest membership loss from a year ago, down 1.29%, followed by Wyoming, down 0.13%. In Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory still struggling to recover after being devastated by Hurricane Marie in 2017, membership dropped almost 13%.
Real estate agents and brokers who belong to the trade group are the only housing professionals who can use the term Realtor, which is trademarked by NAR. They pledge to adhere to the group’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice, an eight-page document members refer to, simply, as “the code.”
Like other trade organizations, NAR lobbies state and federal governments on issues important to its members. NAR has spent $30.1 million lobbying so far this year, according to Open Secrets, a Washington non-partisan group that tracks spending on elections and public policy.
Last year, it spent $72.6 million. In 2017, it spent $54.4 million and in 2016, a presidential election year, it spent $64.9 million.