Starting Your Career in Commercial Real Estate


A strengthening economy and historic levels of job growth is giving real estate professionals confidence in commercial market conditions.  The commercial real estate market has shown incremental improvements since the economic collapse of the 2000s.  Navigating the commercial real estate landscape requires deft knowledge and skill.


NAR Library & Archives has 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.

Source: Voice for Real Estate 88: Flood, Agents, Commercial, iOi, (National Association of REALTORS®, 2018)

Commercial Real Estate/Commercial Members

  • The National Association of REALTORS® latest Commercial Real Estate Outlook: 2018. Q3 offers overall projections for four major commercial sectors and analyzes quarterly data in the office, industrial, retail and multifamily markets.

  • NAR forecasts economic output to expand at a stronger pace of 3.0 percent in 2018.

  • With economic output and employment trends continuing on an expansionary path, commercial fundamentals are expected to exhibit solid demand and increasing cash flows.

  • Vacancy rates will likely provide mixed results, with multifamily undergoing growing availability from an expanding supply pipeline.

  • Office and retail properties will likely see vacancies move sideways, while industrial spaces will find rent growth advancing at a steady pace.

  • For commercial investments, the trends have already shown in pricing. Cap rates seem to have found a floor, and for some property types, have already begun to turn upward.

(Source: Commercial Real Estate Outlook, 2018. Q3, National Association of REALTORS®, 2018)

Business and Demographic Characteristics of NAR Commercial Members

  • Forty-seven percent of NAR's commercial members are brokers and licensed sales agents make up 30 percent, consistent with last year.

  • Commercial members typically have been in real estate 24 years, up from 20 years in 2016, and 19 years in commercial real estate, up from 15 years in 2016. They have been members of NAR for 19 years, up from 15 years in the previous year.

  • Commercial members completed a median of eight transactions in 2016, down from nine in 2015.

  • The median age of commercial members is 60-years-old.

(Source: 2017 Commercial Member Profile, National Association of REALTORS®, 2017)

For more commercial market data, go to NAR’s Commercial Research Page

Commercial Real Estate: News and Trends

Market Trends, (Commercial Investment Real Estate, Sept./Oct. 2018)

International Investment Strong in US Real Estate, (Journal of Business, July 19, 2018) E

Online Sales Tax Rule Could be Commercial Windfall, (REALTOR® Magazine, June 22, 2018)

REALTORS®: Commercial Market is on Upswing, (Journal of Business, June 7, 2018) E

Multi-family Sector Drags Down Housing Starts, (REALTOR® Magazine, May 17, 2018)

2018 Commercial Real Estate Trends and Issues Forum, (Des Moines Business Record, Apr. 20, 2018) E

Do You Speak Residential or Commercial?, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 10, 2018)

More Commercial Deals Don't Need an Appraiser, (REALTOR® Magazine, Apr. 3, 2018)

Visions of the Hudson Valley's Future, (Westchester County Business Journal, Apr. 2, 2018) E

10 Cities Relying on Commercial Real Estate, (REALTOR® Magazine, Mar. 1, 2018)

New-Home Market Picks Up the Pace, (REALTOR® Magazine, Feb. 20, 2018)

Commercial Real Estate Heating up in Pima County, (Inside Tucson Business, Feb. 16, 2018) E

Small Markets See 4%Gain in Commercial Property Sales, (Speaking of Real Estate Blog, National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 18, 2017)

Outlook Remains Bright for Commercial Real Estate Despite Price Plateau, (National Association of REALTORS®, Sept. 12, 2017)

How Taxes and Required Returns Drove Commercial Real Estate Valuations Over the Past Four Decades, (National Tax Journal, Sept. 2017) E

Is the Bull Market Nearing an End?, (SIOR Report, Fall 2017)

Research: Inside the Numbers: Economic Output & Small Business Creation – New Business Openings Currently Outpacing Closings, (Commercial Connections, Aug. 29, 2017)

Commercial Agents See 11% Jump in Income, (REALTOR® Magazine Online, Aug. 2, 2017)

Commercial Real Estate Still Abuzz, (Buffalo Law Journal, Aug. 7, 2017) E


Resources for Gettin​g Started from NAR and its Institutes, Societies and Councils

NAR Commercial on Twitter

Commercial Connections – NAR’s quarterly commercial real estate publication

CCIM Institute – The CCIM Institute confers the CCIM designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Commercial Investment Real Estate Magazine – Bi-monthly magazine from the CCIM Institute

Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) – The source for education, resources, information and membership for real estate management professionals

Journal of Property Management – Bi-monthly magazine from IREM with comprehensive coverage of trends and issues affecting all property types

Real Estate Business Institute (REBI) – REBI confers the CRB, CRBM and CRB designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®

Realtors Land Institute - RLI confers the ALC Designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

Residential Real Estate Council - RRS confers the CRS Designation, the highest credential awarded to residential sales agents, managers and brokers, and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

The Residential Specialist - the award-winning bi-monthly magazine of the Residential Real Estate Council

Society of Industrial and Office REALTORS® (SIOR) – SIOR confers the SIOR Designation and is an affiliate of the National Association of REALTORS®

SIOR Report – SIOR's quarterly magazine which addresses the concerns of industrial and office real estate practitioners

Commercial-Specific Resources from NAR and its Institutes, Societies and Councils

Commercial Data and Resource Guide - listing services, property data, marketing services, and other commercial real estate-related data and technology resources.

Commercial Home

Commercial Advocacy – learn more about NAR’s commercial real estate priorities with the Issue Brief. You can also obtain in-depth information on the various commercial issues, including Crowdfunding, Drones, Small Business Administration, Section 1031 Like-Kind Exchanges and more.

Affiliate Organizations – details on the variety of Commercial Institutes, Societies and Counsels.

Commercial Services – here you can download a handy guide with an overview of Commercial Services for NAR Members.

International Business/MIPIM  - One of the largest commercial real estate conferences in the world, MIPIM, is happening in Cannes, France, March 12-15th, 2019. Find out how you can use this tool to expand your network and generate potential business.

Professional Development – grow your expertise through the learning opportunities and events offered by NAR and its commercial affiliate organization.

Publications and Information – make sure your NRDS record is up-to-date and includes at least one commercial specialization in the “Field of Business” to ensure timely delivery of the commercial-related communications.

Research – take advantages of the commercial-focused research found online at, including the “Commercial Real Estate Lending Survey,” the “Business Creation Index,” “Expectations and Market Realities in Real Estate,” the “Commercial Real Estate ALERT,” and much more.

Resources for AEs and Staff – this is the place to learn more about serving your board’s commercial members. Here you will find best practices, national awards, etc. Looking for funding to launch new programs? The Commercial Innovation Grants funding cycle happens just twice a year to provide state and local associations with support to jump start new programs and services that positively impact commercial practitioners.

eBooks & Other Resources

The following eBooks and digital audiobooks are available to NAR members:

Commercial Mortgages 101 (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing (Kindle, eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investing in Canada (eBook)

Commercial Real Estate Investment (eBook)

The ABCs of Real Estate Investing (Kindle, eBook)

The Commercial Real Estate Revolution (Kindle, eBook)

The complete guide to buying and selling apartment buildings (Kindle, eBook)

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Member Support. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Member Support at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

The commercial real estate tsunami: a survival guide for lenders, owners, buyers and brokers, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2011)

After the fall: opportunities and strategies for real estate investing in the coming decade, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2009)

Commercial real estate investing: a creative guide to successfully making money, (Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2008)

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.