The California Department of Real Estate announced today that there are about 500,000 real estate licensees in the state – which means that one in every 52 adults in California has a real estate license.

In 2005, the number of licensees grew 14 percent over the previous year to a then-record 476,000 licensees. That total represented a 57 percent increase compared to the number of California real estate licensees in 2000. The number of licensees reached 495,000 as of April 2006.

To accommodate the demand for licenses, the department has conducted several “mega-exams” in which thousands of applicants took the real estate license examination, according to the announcement. “The department also increased the services available through its … eLicensing online system through which 52 percent of salesperson license exams are now scheduled online, amounting to over 70,000 since March 1, 2005,” the department announced.

Jeff Davi, commissioner for the Department of Real Estate, said in a statement, “The level of interest in real estate licensure is unprecedented. With so many new licensees, the DRE has also increased its consumer protection efforts.”

The department has partnered with the state Department of Corporations, Department of Financial Institutions and the Office of Real Estate Appraisers to create a centralized Internet location for consumers to verify licensing information from all four departments at once. The combined “California Real Estate and Financial Services License Status” tool can be accessed at the departments’ Web sites.

It is available on the Department of Real Estate’s Web site at http://www.dre.ca.gov/licinfo.htm. At this site, consumers can check the license status of real estate agents, mortgage brokers and others involved in the processes of purchasing or refinancing their homes.

The department’s Web site also offers consumer information on topics that include: “Disclosures in Real Property Transactions,” “Protect Yourself from Predatory Lending,” “Using the Services of a Mortgage Broker,” and “Living in a California Common Interest Development,” among others, according to the department’s announcement.

Information about the department and its programs is available online at www.dre.ca.gov.

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