26% of REALTORS® Said Lack of Inventory and Housing Affordability Prevented Clients from Buying Homes in 2023 as Existing-Home Sales Fell to Lowest Level Since 1995

Key Highlights

  • Brokerage specialists had a lower sales volume ($2.5 million vs. $3.4 million), and the typical agent had fewer transactions (10 vs. 12) in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • Seventy-three percent of REALTORS® plan to remain in the real estate industry for at least two more years.
  • New members were more diverse than experienced members. Among those who had two years or less of experience, 40% were non-White.

WASHINGTON (July 10, 2024) – In 2023, when the volume of existing-home sales hit the lowest level since 1995, 26% of REALTORS® named lack of inventory and housing affordability as the most important factors limiting potential clients from making a purchase, according to the National Association of REALTORS®' 2024 Member Profile. This annual report analyzes members' business activity and demographics from the prior year.

“2023 was a difficult year for REALTORS® due to high mortgage rates and low housing inventory, which significantly impacted home sales volume,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR deputy chief economist and vice president of research. “REALTORS® faced competition at all angles – not only to represent clients but also to ensure their buyers’ offers were accepted amid tough real estate market conditions.”

Nearly two out of three REALTORS® (65%) hold sales agent licenses, while 22% hold broker licenses and 17% hold broker associate licenses. Seventy-four percent of members specialize in residential brokerage. Like 2022, relocation, residential property management and commercial brokerage are members’ most common secondary specialty areas.

Members typically have 10 years of real estate experience, down from 11 years in 2022. Seventy-three percent of members are very certain they will remain in the real estate industry for at least two more years. Brokerage specialists had a lower sales volume ($2.5 million vs. $3.4 million), and the typical agent had fewer transactions (10 vs. 12) in 2023 compared to 2022.

The typical REALTOR® earned 20% of their business from previous clients and customers, down from 27% last year. The most experienced members – those with 16 or more years of experience – reported a greater share of repeat business from clients or referrals (a median of 42% in 2023). Similar to 2022, members with two years of experience or less reported no repeat business in 2023. Overall, REALTORS® earned a median of 21% of their business from referrals, a decrease from 24% in 2022. Referrals were also more common among members with 16 or more years of experience – a median of 29% – compared to no referrals for those with two years or less of experience.

The typical property manager managed 31 properties in 2023, down notably from 40 properties in 2022. The typical REALTOR® worked 35 hours per week in 2023, slightly less than last year.

The median gross income for REALTORS® decreased to $55,800 in 2023, down from $56,400 in 2022. REALTORS® with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $92,500, up from $80,700 in 2022. REALTORS®’ total expenses increased to $8,450 in 2023 from $8,210 in 2022.

A majority of REALTORS® (53%) worked with an independent company and 88% were independent contractors at their firms – both figures nearly identical to 2022. The typical REALTOR® had a median tenure of five years with their current firm, down from a median of six years in 2022. Eight percent of members reported working for a firm that was bought or merged in the past two years, down from 26% in 2022.

“Regardless of market conditions, agents who are REALTORS® sought a career where they could be their own boss as an independent contractor, specialize in residential or commercial brokerage, and embrace new technologies to make transactions happen,” said Lautz.

Daily, most REALTORS® use a smartphone with wireless email and internet capability (96%) and a laptop or desktop computer (91%). The smartphone features that members use most frequently daily are email (94%), social media apps (60%) and GPS (56%). Sixty-four percent of REALTORS® use multiple listings software daily. Text messaging (94%) is the top method of communication for members with their clients, followed by telephone (91%) and email (89%).

More than two-thirds of members (72%) have their own website – 44% of which are provided by the member’s firm. For professional purposes, most members use Facebook (77%), Instagram (57%), and LinkedIn (55%).

Six percent of REALTORS® use drones themselves as part of their business, and 46% have hired a professional drone operator. Four percent and 2% of members, respectively, use 3D/virtual tour and virtual staging technology daily.

Sixty-five percent of all REALTORS® were female in 2023, an increase from 62% last year. The median age of REALTORS® was 55, down from 60 last year. Thirty-five percent were 60 years or older and 4% were less than 30.

Seventy-nine percent of REALTORS® were White in 2023, down from 81% last year. Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 10% of REALTORS®, followed by Black/African Americans (6%) and Asian/Pacific Islanders (4%). New members were more diverse than experienced members. Among those who had two years or less of experience, 40% were non-White.

REALTORS ®’ education level exceeded that of the general public. Ninety-two percent of members had some post-secondary education, with 34% completing a bachelor’s degree as their highest level of education. Seventy percent of members reported volunteering in their community – most commonly among members aged 40 to 49 years.

“REALTORS® are hardworking people who advocate for homeownership and property rights in the communities they serve,” said NAR President Kevin Sears, broker-partner of Sears Real Estate/Lamacchia Realty in Springfield, Massachusetts. “Regardless of how you find a property, expert agents who are REALTORS® help take the stress out of the homebuying process and navigate the most intricate and significant transaction many will ever complete.”

Survey Methodology

In March 2024, NAR emailed a 98-question survey to a random sample of 157,711 REALTORS® and received 6,113 responses. The survey had an adjusted response rate of 3.9%. The confidence interval at a 95% level of confidence is +/- 1.25% based on a population of 1.5 million members. The association weighted responses to be representative of state-level NAR membership. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions are characteristics of calendar year 2023, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2024.

For more information from NAR’s 2024 Member Profile, visit https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/highlights-from-the-nar-member-profile.

About the National Association of REALTORS® 

The National Association of REALTORS® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.5 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.

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