BrokerageIndustry News

Doom after boom for some real estate agents

Agent population linked to housing market cycles

Mary Pope-Handy, a Realtor for Intero Real Estate Services in California's Silicon Valley region, watched as droves of jobless techies chased a real estate career after the dot-com bubble hit bottom. In her market, she said, there are five times more agents than for-sale properties. "People have been flooding into the market because they think it's easy money, but even in a more normal market about half of the agents desert their new profession within 18 months," said Pope-Handy, who joined the industry 12 years ago. While the number of real estate agents has set records over the past several years as the national housing boom has continued to blossom, this population of real estate agents will likely shrink as the real estate market peaks and settles, say real estate industry groups and experts. Housing cycles, as history shows, roughly correlate to employment cycles for real estate professionals. The National Association of Realtors, which has about 1.19 million members, has seen it...