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The slumping real estate market is convincing some real estate professionals that it’s time to pack it in and try something more lucrative.
The National Association of Realtors’ membership in 2007 dropped for the first time since 1996. The membership fell 1.5% from 2006 to 1.338 million agents, brokers and other professionals, according to the group’s Web site.
This might not seem like much of a drop but it’s a significant change from the annual membership increases of more than 10% during the peak of the housing market a few years ago. Store clerks, teachers, laid-off executives, retirees and others looking for a new career with a huge upside got into the business when real estate was hot. It seems that some of these folks have decided to stop paying their dues.
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.