Despite the pandemic, 2020 saw the highest number of homes sold nationally (5.64 million) since 2006. And while some real-estate professionals are getting rich, it remains a largely middle-class profession, according to new data from the National Association of Realtors.
NAR’s annual member survey reported the median gross income for its members stood at $43,330 in 2020, down from $49,700 in 2019. The typical member also had a slightly lower sales volume ($2.1 million vs. $2.3 million) and fewer transactions (10 vs. 12) in 2020 compared to 2019.
Not surprisingly, experience equals higher pay in many cases. Realtors with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $75,000, though that represented a decrease from $86,500 in 2019. One out of four Realtors earned $100,000 or more.
The member survey provided insight into who becomes a real-estate professional and why they stay.
“Realtors come from all walks of life and serve as pillars in their respective communities,” said NAR president Charlie Oppler, a Realtor from Franklin Lakes, N.J., and the CEO of Prominent Properties Sotheby’s International Realty.
Despite the chaos of the last year, NAR membership grew to 1.48 million at the end of 2020, up from 1.4 million a year before, and 79 percent of Realtors said they were “certain” they would remain in the industry for the foreseeable future.
Among other tidbits from the data:
• Members typically have eight years of real estate experience, down from nine years in 2019. Eighteen percent of those surveyed have one year or less experience – nearly identical to 17 percent last year – while 15 percent of Realtors have more than 25 years of experience, down from 17 percent a year ago.
• Sixty-five percent of Realtors are women, a minor increase from 64 percent a year before.
• The median age of Realtors was 54, down slightly from 55 a year ago. A third of members were over 60 years old, and 5 percent were age 30 or younger.
• The marital status of Realtors remained nearly unchanged between 2019 and 2020. Sixty-nine percent of Realtors were married, 15 percent divorced, and 11 percent single.