We've already done the research for you. References (formerly Field Guides) offer links to articles, eBooks, websites, statistics, and more to provide a comprehensive overview of perspectives. EBSCO articles (E) are available only to NAR members and require a password.
Income Data From NAR
The median gross income of REALTORS® — earned from real estate activities — was $42,500 in 2016, An increase from $39,200 in 2015 Those are licensed as sales agents typically reported a median income of $31,670, an increase from $27,260 reported in 2015.
Income is typically commensurate with experience. As REALTORS® gain experience and a larger network of referrals and previous clients, their income generally will rise. Median business expenses were $6,000 in 2016, a decrease from $6,300 in 2015.
The median gross income of REALTORS® — earned from real estate activities — was $39,200 in 2015, a decrease from $45,800 in 2014. Those who function as sales agents typically reported in 2014 as there were more new entrants to the market. Broker owners, managers, and appraisers had higher gross and net incomes than other groups.
Income is typically commensurate with experience. As REALTORS® with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $73,400 — up from $68,800 in 2014.
The number of hours worked per week is also strongly connected to income.
Source: The 2017 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile can be ordered by calling 800-874-6500 #1, or online. The report is $14.95 to NAR members and costs $149.95 for non-members.
From the NAR Archives
In its first all-member survey conducted in 1949, NAR found that the typical licensed broker earned an annual income of $10,000.
Articles, Surveys & More
Real Estate Sales Agent Salaries, (Salary.com, Nov., 2017)
REALTORS® Report Increase in Commercial Transactions, Income and Sales Volume Income and Sales Volume, (NAR News Release, June 15, 2015)
REALTORS® See Growing Incomes for Third Year in a Row, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 21, 2014)
4 Ways To Increase Your Income, (REALTOR® Magazine, July, 2011)
NAR Member Survey Shows Rise in REALTOR® Income and Sales Volume, (NAR News Release, May 20, 2014)
Highlights from NAR’s 2014 Member Profile, (NAR, May 20, 2014)
Highlights: 2014 NAR Commercial Member Profile, (Economists Outlook, May 8, 2014)
NAR Member Survey Shows Realtor® Business and Income Continue to Improve (NAR News Release, May 13, 2013)
Academic Articles & Studies
Rising Home Prices Boost REALTOR® Income, But Expenses Are Growing Even Faster, (Inman News, May 20, 2014)
Plan on Getting Rich as a Real Estate Agent? Read This First, (The Motley Fool, Jan. 12, 2014)
REALTOR® Income Rises 25%, Prepare for Wave of New Licensees, (AGBeat, May 13, 2013)
Best Business Jobs: Real Estate Agent, (U.S. News & World Report, 2013)
Earnings of Real Estate Salespersons With Prior Work Experience, (Journal of Housing Research, Vol. 21, No. 1, 2012) E
Determinants of Real Estate Agent Compensation Choice (Journal of Housing Research, Vol. 8, No. 2, 2009) E
Why Do Some Real Estate Salespeople Earn More Than Others?, (Journal of Real Estate Finance & Economics, July 2007) E
Listing Specialization and Residential Real Estate Licensee Income, (Journal of Real Estate Research, Vol. 29, No. 1, 2007) E
The Role of Commission Rates and Specialization in the Determination of Real Estate Agent Income (Journal of Housing Research, Vol. 16, No. 1, 2007) E
The Impact of Information Technology on Real Estate Licensee Income (University of North Carolina, 2002) E
Websites & Other Resources
Updated each year by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Real Estate Brokers & Agents section of the Occupational Outlook Handbook includes data on average earnings and wages of real estate licensees.
Salary.com's Salary Wizard features information on median expected annual income for real estate licensees, using survey data from human resources departments around the country.
eBooks & Other Resources
The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:
Have an idea for a real estate topic? Send us your suggestions.
The inclusion of links on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this page complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.