The real estate recession has been tougher on real estate agents and brokers than it has property owners over the past two years.
Realtors’ median income fell 4.5 percent to $34,100 last year, which followed a 3 percent decline in 2009. Realtors licensed as brokers earned a median of $48,700 in 2010, while sales agents earned $24,900, according to a study released by the National Association of Realtors last month.
By contrast, the S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index has fallen only 1.1 percent from March 2009 to March 2011, the most recent Case-Shiller data available.
NAR members in the business for two years or less earned a median of $8,900, while those in the business for 16 years or more earned $47,100. Sixteen percent earned a six-figure income.
Median Realtor household income, which includes business income, any secondary income and spousal or partner income, was $91,700, which is above the national median of $50,000.
The survey shows the typical NAR member is 56 years old and works 40 hours per week; 57 percent are women, who account for 50 percent of brokers and 63 percent of sales agents. Three percent of all Realtors® are under 30 years of age and another 4 percent are 30 to 34 years old; 22 percent are 65 or over.
Most members are sales agents: 57 percent; 28 percent are brokers, 17 percent broker associates, 4 percent appraisers, and 1 percent other (some hold more than one license). Eleven percent of members have one personal assistant, while 3 percent have two or more personal assistants. The median number of transaction sides handled in 2010 was eight, equivalent to four full transactions, up from seven transaction sides in 2009.
Sixty-eight percent of Realtors® are compensated through a split commission arrangement, 18 percent receive all of the commission and another 3 percent receive a commission plus a share of profits; 11 percent received some other form of compensation. Eight out of 10 members work as independent contractors for their firms. Three out of four Realtors® receive no fringe benefits.
Only 6 percent of members report real estate is their first career. Previous full-time careers include management, business or financial, 19 percent; sales or retail, 16 percent; office or administrative support, 9 percent; and education, 7 percent. Twelve other categories were each 5 percent or less; 14 percent were other.