Membership holds steady for N.Y. Realtors’ group

Slowing housing markets statewide did not scare many Realtors into retreat in 2007, keeping the New

Slowing housing markets statewide did not scare many Realtors into retreat in 2007, keeping the New York Association of Realtors’ membership nearly unchanged over the year.

But Realtor membership in the greater Capital Region increased to a record high — bucking the effects of a slower market and defying predictions.

During a year when New York’s annual pace of single-family home sales declined 8.5 percent and its median sale price slipped 4.4 percent, NYSAR ended 2007 with 1.46 percent fewer members.

Its membership last year fell to 65,127 as of Dec. 31, the Albany-based trade organization announced Tuesday at its midwinter business meeting at the Desmond Hotel and Conference Center.

Like NYSAR, the Washington-based National Association of Realtors also posted a 1.5 percent membership loss for 2007, bringing its total to 1.34 million.

But between November 2006 and November 2007, the Greater Capital Association of Realtors’ membership rose a surprising 8.3 percent to 3,597.

The Colonie organization had originally budgeted for a membership decline in 2007.

Last year was GCAR’s fourth-best year for sales since it began tracking them in 1988.

GCAR records its membership statistics each November when the group drafts its budget, said GCAR Chief Executive Officer James Ader.

“People still see it as an attractive market,” Ader said.

NYSAR President Linda Page said the association is strong entering 2008, though membership might dip further by March.

Only nine of 59 reporting counties in New York saw sales increase last year while 40 saw upticks in price.

For 2007, GCAR posted a 7 percent decline in sales and a 2 percent price uptick.

Ader said forthcoming changes in Realtors’ education requirements might have brought a wave of new members to GCAR.

As of July 1, New Yorkers must attend 75 hours of real estate education to obtain a real estate sales license, compared with 45 hours now.

GCAR again has budgeted for a membership decline in 2008. NAR expects sales activity to hold steady this year and increase in 2009.

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