BOSTON — A National Association of Realtors proposal to raise dues for members by 2.5 percent annually starting in 2020 is no longer under consideration, according to NAR Treasurer Tom Riley.
Riley spoke at the Treasurer’s Forum of NAR’s annual conference, the Realtors Conference & Expo, on Saturday, Nov. 3. He touted a “positive budget” starting in 2019, largely due to membership growth and a $30 dues increase approved by the NAR board of directors in May.
Days before that May board vote, Riley announced a postponement of the 2.5 percent annual dues increase proposal, saying that NAR leadership had concerns regarding the proposal’s verbiage and whether it would violate NAR’s constitution. At the time, he said the trade group would tweak the proposal and bring it back for a vote.
On Saturday, Inman caught up to Riley after the forum to ask about the 2.5 percent dues increase proposal.
“It’s off the table,” he said. “Beginning next year, because of the dues increase, we were able to adjust our expenses and increase our revenue. We’ll have a positive budget.”
“We’ve got a five-year budget and a ten-year budget with reserves set aside so we don’t have major capital expenditures, hopefully. The positive budget and savings is more than sufficient to handle the 2.5 percent escalator.”
NAR was able to restructure in part based on new memberships, which Riley put at 67,000 this year, as well as fiscal conservatism, he said.
Riley touted NAR’s membership growth to 1,367,072 (at the end of December 2017, NAR’s membership count stood at 1.31 million).
“[That figure is] a very important number because that’s how our bottom line income has substantially grown,” Riley told conference attendees.
“We also cut numerous dollars out of RPR [NAR subsidiary Realtors Property Resource], operations, staff reorganization. If you add it all up it’s a substantial savings which totally turned the tide on our financial operations at NAR.”
Despite the savings, NAR still had to take $24 million out of its reserves this year, though that was a decrease from the estimated $45 million bite the trade group originally anticipated, Riley said.
“The future is — financially — awesome, keeping the members involved and keeping them involved with what’s going on with their dues,” he told attendees.
“Tell us what you want, tell us what you need. If you have a concern we need to know it.”
The Houston Association of Realtors opposed the proposed dues increases earlier this year and specifically said the 2.5 percent graduated increase was “not consistent with the concept of transparency.”
In a chart emailed to members in April, HAR pointed out that the 2.5 percent escalator would raise dues, which will be $150 in 2019, by 77 percent in 2040, to $265.