In 2012, many areas of the country started to see both home sales and prices rebounding. Unlike in past years, however, those markets still struggling saw not a shortage of buyers but a shortage of sellers. Inventory dropped from months of supply to just a few weeks in many markets. Survey data from the Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey show that investment buyers remained high, but many primary home buyers were also coming back into the market. Data from the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey showed that both the home buyers and home sellers wanted to and did work with a professional real estate agent or broker at higher rates than seen in past years. Clients continue to want the expert professional advice that members of the National Association of REALTORS® have provided in the past and continue to provide, as this year’s report illustrates.
For the second year in a row, the median gross income of REALTORS® rose from the previous year. The typical income among members was $43,500 in 2012, rising from $34,900 in 2011. The rise in member income is reflective in the increase in business activity, as well. The typical brokerage specialist had 12 transaction sides in 2012 compared to 10 transaction sides in 2011. Members reported that they typically had one transaction side involving a foreclosure and one transaction side involving a short sale. The brokerage sales volume rose to $1.5 million in 2012 from $1.3 million in 2011. Property managers managed the most properties on record from this survey, a median of 49 properties each, which is a reflection of the strong rental market in 2012.
The typical REALTOR® is an independent contractor affiliated with an independent company catering to local markets. Members typically have been with their firm for seven years – a rise from six years in the prior year’s survey.
While there are new members entering the profession, there is a decline in members leaving the profession, which has increased both the age and the median years of experience of members. The typical member has 13 years of experience compared to 11 years in the last report.
The median age of REALTORS® frequently have had careers in other fields prior to real estate, the most common being in management, business, and financial professions, followed by sales and retail. Only 6 percent indicated that real estate is their first career.
REALTORS® are embracing new technologies and marketing strategies that buyers are finding useful in their home search process, including websites, blogs, and social media. In addition to membership in the National Association of REALTORS®, real estate professionals have other ways to distinguishing themselves, including affiliate memberships, professional designations, and certifications. Many REALTORS® took advantage of each of these opportunities. Short Sales and Foreclosures (SFR) remains the most popular certification, following a three year trend.
Looking forward, 80 percent of REALTORS® are very certain they will remain in the market for two more years. The share is higher than last year, indicating the optimism that is seen in today’s market. Newer member in the business are less certain they will remain in real estate, while more seasoned members are more certain.