By Peter Ricci
After a few difficult years, the income and business of Realtors grew in 2011, according to the 2012 National Association of Realtors Member Profile.
A survey of 58,823 NAR members that yielded 6,245 usable responses, the profile found the median income for Realtors rose 2.3 percent in 2011 to $34,900. Also, licensed brokers typically earned $48,400 in 2011, and the median sales for agents was $27,200.
Paul Bishop, NAR’s vice president of research, said the increases in member income are the first since 2002.
“Many Realtors have persevered through very difficult market conditions and understand the cyclical nature of the business, but have never had to endure a cycle like the one that is presently waning,” Bishop said. “The good news is home sales are rising, overall activity is expected to be notably better this year and individual prospects are much brighter given there are fewer Realtors than several years ago.”
Those year-over-year gains are also evident in Chicago’s markets. Bob Floss, the president of the Chicago Association of Realtors and managing broker/owner of Bob Floss and Son Realty, said he has observed increases in business from a professional and educational standpoint.
“Chicago Realtors are busy today and closing more deals so far in 2012 than in the same period in 2011,” Floss said. “Students I teach and others in the field reinforce that there’s a real return to business basics that’s paying off with identifying clients and successfully closing sales.”
Floss added that now that Illinois has transitioned to new licensing requirements for its real estate agents, new opportunities are available to build upon those gains.
“In addition, the recent Illinois license law transition has readied Realtors working today to offer smarter, stronger service to their clients,” Floss said.
Tom Krettler, the co-president of MORe and a broker associate with RE/MAX Northern Illinois, said he has also observed a definite increase in business in 2012.
“I do hear from many Realtors that sales are going quicker,” he said, adding that inventory in his markets of Palatine, Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates has been “clocking downward,” a cycle that will only create more demand among buyers, as properties become less plentiful and pent-up demand is forced onto the market.
Krettler attended last week’s NAR Midyear Meetings & Trade Expo, and he said that the inventory situation in some of the major cities on the East and West Coasts has been even more pronounced, with some agents at the expo audibly complaining about the lack of inventory.
“They always say that things start at the coasts and move inward,” Krettler said, hoping for a similar situation in due time for the Midwest.
Other income-related stats from NAR’s report included: NAR members who have been in real estate for 16 years or longer earned $50,200 last year, which was higher than in 2011; Realtors who worked 60-plus hours a week earned $80,900; and 17 percent of members earned a six-figure income.
The report also contained numerous details of the demographics and professional characteristics ofNAR members, such as:
- The typical NAR member has 11 years of experience and works 40 hours per week.
- Sixty percent are women, who account for 55 percent of brokers and 66 percent of sales agents.
- More than nine out of 10 Realtors are certain they will remain in the business for at least two more years.
- Thirty-two percent of Realtors hold at least one out of six certifications in specialized training, with the most popular area being the short sales and foreclosures resource certification.
- Repeat business accounted for a median 19 percent of activity in 2011 and is higher for those with more experience – for members with 16 years or more in the business, that number rises to 38 percent.
NAR President Moe Veissi said Realtor training and experience is giving them the edge in today’s market.
“Our members are tapping into resources that give agents an edge up on challenging conditions, whether it’s helping a buyer negotiate a distressed sale or find a loan, or in helping a seller with effective marketing,” Veissi said. “Beyond that, we’re fighting for both home owners and buyers in Washington and beyond because homeownership matters to the well-being of this nation.”