Realtors® Survey Shows Median Income Jumped 5%, More Women Joining Industry

WASHINGTON (May 9, 2019) – Realtor® median net income increased 5% from 2017 to 2018, and 67% of all Realtors® were female, an increase from 63% last year, according to key findings in the 2019 National Association of Realtors® Member Profile.

While overall membership grew from 1.23 million in 2016 to 1.36 in 2018, membership remained steady at 1.32 million as of April 2019, according to the report. The median tenure in real estate decreased from 10 to eight years and the median time spent at a real estate firm was recorded at four years, the same as 2018.

"As the real estate industry continues to feel the impact of limited inventory, the typical number of transactions Realtors® make in a year remained at 11 in 2018, the same as in the previous report. In addition, because of rising home prices across the country, the median brokerage sales volume increased to $1.9 million in 2018 from $1.8 million in 2017," Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, stated.

The survey's results are representative of the nation's 1.3 million Realtors®; members of NAR account for about half of all active real estate licensees in the U.S. Realtors® go beyond state licensing requirements by subscribing to NAR's Code of Ethics and standards of practice while committing to continuing education.

Demographic Characteristics of Realtors®

The report identified the typical Realtor® as a 54-year-old white female who attended college and was a homeowner. Sixteen percent of Realtors® had a previous career in management, business, or finance, and 15% worked in sales or retail. Realtors® continue to see an overall growth in diversity of membership while a growing number of women are entering the profession. Since 2001, there has been a 20% increase in females and a 120% increase in minorities.

Only 4% of Realtors® reported real estate was their first career. Seventy-two percent of Realtors® said that real estate was their only occupation, and that number increased to 82% among members with 16 or more years of experience.

Business Activity of Realtors®

"Limited inventory continues to cause headaches in markets across the country and is preventing potential homebuyers from finding a home. For the sixth year in a row, Realtors® cited the difficulty in finding the right property surpassed the difficulty of obtaining a mortgage. "However, rental business has been strong with more members involved in property management," said Yun.

The typical property manager supervised 47 properties in 2018, up from 35 properties in 2017. The typical Realtor® earned 13% of their business from repeat clients and customers and 17% through referrals from past clients and customers.

Business Characteristics of Realtors®

Sixty-eight percent of Realtors® were licensed sales agents, 20% held broker licenses and 14% held broker associate licenses.

Fourteen percent of members had at least one personal assistant. Fifty-one percent of Realtors® reported having a website for at least five years, 9% reported having a real estate blog, 73% of members were on Facebook and 58% are active on LinkedIn for professional use. The most common information found on Realtor® websites was the member's own listings and home buying and selling information.

Income of Realtors®

The median gross income of Realtors® was $41,800 in 2018, an increase from $39,800 in 2017. Realtors® with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $71,000-down from $78,800 in 2017. In comparison, Realtors® with two years or less experience had a median gross income of $9,300, a slight increase from $8,330. Median business expenses were reported at $4,600 in 2018, similar to the $4,580 recorded last year. In 2018, 36% of Realtors® were compensated under a fixed commission split (under 100%), followed by 23% with a graduated commission split (increases with productivity).

Office and Firm Affiliation of Realtors®

The survey looked at office and firm affiliation for members and found that over half of Realtors® were affiliated with an independent company. Nearly nine in ten 10 members were independent contractors at their firms. The median tenure for Realtors® with their current firm was four years again in 2019. Nine percent of Realtors® worked for a firm that was bought or merged in the past two years.

The National Association of Realtors® is America's largest trade association, representing more than 1.3 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

Survey Methodology

In March 2019, NAR e-mailed a 92-question survey to a random sample of 174,242 Realtors®. Using this method, a total of 12,700 responses were received. The survey had an adjusted response rate of 7.2%. The confidence interval at a 95% level of confidence is +/- 0.87% based on a population of 1.3 million members. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions is characteristic of calendar year 2018, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2019.