The National Association of Realtors Legislative Meetings and Trade Expo, a.k.a “Midyear,” kicked off this week, and members will finally have the chance to vote on the controversial dues hikes the organization proposed earlier this year — the first dues increases since 2012.

In order to cover a $35.5 million increase in spending for political advocacy, a new transaction management platform and other initiatives, NAR leadership proposed a $30 hike in annual dues in 2019 to bring the total dues owed by members from $120 to $150 total. Furthermore, the trade group proposed 2.5 percent year-over-year increases beginning in 2020.

The vote for the dues will take place on May 19 during the NAR board of directors meeting, and Inman journalists Andrea Brambila (andrea@inman.com) and Patrick Kearns (patrick@inman.com) will be reporting live on the ground throughout the week.

The real estate industry has reacted strongly to the proposal to raise dues with some local associations around the country condemning it. One of the most notable reactions came from the Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), where 97 percent of HAR members opposed the increases. Inman readers similarly rejected the proposals: 83 percent opposed the $30 hike that would bring their dues up to $150, and 87 percent disagreed with the 2.5 percent yearly increase.

HAR board of directors chair Kenya Burrell-VanWormer suggested that instead of increasing revenue through due hikes that NAR reallocate funds from “less successful” programs such as HouseLogic, Realtor University, Advanced Multilist Platform (AMP), the “dot-Realtor” domain, Realtors Property Resource (RPR) or the Consumer Awareness Program and push it toward political advocacy and other initiatives.

NAR contends that the dues hikes are necessary and has maintained an open policy of discussion and debate in the lead-up to this year’s Midyear. “The challenges since the last time NAR raised operational dues 10 years ago in 2008 have only grown with each succeeding year,” wrote NAR Treasurer Tom Riley in a response to HAR, “We will not abdicate our responsibility to lead during this time of change.”

Editor’s note: This story has been updated.

Email Marian McPherson

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