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Boards expecting a decline in membership on all islands


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POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

As the real estate market slows, more agents are dropping board memberships that give them the “;Realtor”; designation.

The Honolulu Board of Realtors expects a 10 percent drop to about 5,500 members this year, according to Chief Executive Rochelle Lee Gregson, although more definitive numbers should be available in March. The membership includes access to the Multiple Listing Service and other benefits.

“;What is noticeably different is the length of time it takes to pay up,”; said Gregson. “;In previous years, they were quick. Now they're a little bit slower, and it could be any number of reasons.”;

Some members, which include property managers and appraisers, may be on the fence. New members are not coming in as fast, she said.

The Kauai Board of Realtors is looking at about 500 members compared to 650 last year, a more than 20 percent drop, according to executive officer Karen Ono.

On Maui, Terry Tolman, chief staff executive, says there were 1,472 members as of this week, which reflects a 9.8 percent drop in the Realtors Association of Maui.

Whereas there were once more Realtors per listing on the Valley Isle, he said, the opposite is now true.

“;Back when it was a hot market you could stand on the curb, wave your card, and people would pick you up on the way to escrow,”; he said. “;If you figure it out now, you'll do really well.”;

Membership numbers are also expected to drop on the Big Island—about 15 percent for the Kona Board of Realtors, and 10 percent for the Hawaii Island Board of Realtors representing the Hilo side, though dues are still coming in.

The Kona board had about 720 members last year, and the Hawaii Island board about 735 members. Big Island Realtors can join either board, or both.

“;Most agents who have been in the business for awhile have been through a negative slump like this and prepared for it,”; said Jackie Parkinson, executive officer of the Hawaii Island board.