The total number of Realtor associations and multiple listing services (MLS) declined over the past year, even as the total number of Realtors boomed, data published Tuesday by real estate consulting and research firm T3 Sixty confirmed.
It’s the continuing result of a multi-year trend of consolidation according to the Organized Real Estate 200 (ORE 200), which is the second part of T3 Sixty’s Real Estate Almanac and a ranking of all U.S. state and local Realtor associations and all U.S. MLSs by membership size.
“Every year in the ORE 200, we track how organized real estate is growing and changing, and 2021 highlights the local Realtor association and MLS growth and consolidation we’ve been hearing about,” Clint Skutchan, T3 Sixty vice president of organized real estate, said in a statement.
“Many organizations are looking at how they can increase their service and achieve economies of scale by growing larger and partnering with others; the 2021 ORE 200 shows us to what extent this is happening.”
Beginning the year in 2021, there were a total of 556 total MLSs, down from 565 the year prior. Six years ago there were more than 800 MLSs, according to the study. Of those 556, 108 are regional — which T3 Sixty defines as being owned by two or more Realtor associations or serving a regional market — and 448 are local MLSs.
Fewer MLSs and more Realtors also means more subscribers per MLS. The median subscriber count per MLS jumped 18.8 percent, while the average subscriber count grew 9.8 percent from 2020 to 2021.
The year also began with 1,069 Realtor associations, down from 1,088 the year prior, while the average member count grew 5.6 percent year over year.
The largest associations in the country are the state associations affiliated with California, Florida and Texas. All three are the only associations with membership counts north of 100,000 Realtors. Together, all three associations account for more than one-third of the nation’s total Realtor membership, while only accounting for 26 percent of the nation’s population, according to T3 Sixty.
The ORE 200 is the second part of The Real Estate Almanac, an annual compendium of research compiled by T3 Sixty. Last month, the company released the SP 200, which named Zillow CEO Rich Barton the most powerful man in real estate for the second consecutive year.
The company will release the rest of the components in consecutive months: March will bring the Tech 500; in April, we’ll see its list of top holding companies, franchise brands, and public companies; and in May, the Mega 1000 brokerage ranking.