White Realtors had nearly three times more income in 2020 than their Black peers, according to an annual survey from the National Association of Realtors.
According to NAR’s “Career Choices in Real Estate: Through the Lens of Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation” report, among the trade group’s members who worked exclusively in residential real estate, white Realtors’ median gross personal income last year was $49,400 while the median for Black Realtors was $16,700. Among Asian/Pacific Islander members it was $27,400 and among Hispanic/Latino members it was $26,600.
By sexual orientation and gender the difference in median income was less stark: $38,800 for LGBTQ+ members and $34,100 for straight/heterosexual members, and $35,700 for men and $33,500 for women.
“Understanding income and transaction differences among races, genders, and sexual orientation is step one, but the next step is learning why there are differences,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of demographics and behavioral insights, in a statement.
“For some, income may be lower as the typical home price in a neighborhood is lower, for others they may work only part-time and others may be new to the profession and have no ownership in the firm.”
NAR, which has more than 1.4 million members, sent the survey in February to 208,000 members, of which 18,209 responded. The trade group cautioned that it over-sampled its members of color and therefore “the overall shares of members are not representative of NAR membership overall.”
“However, the experiences, business practices and business experience of each individual group is representative of that group.” The survey’s confidence interval at a 95 percent level of confidence is +/-0.72 percent.
The differences in income by race are not explained by home prices: The median home sales price for white members was $333,300, for Asian members, it was $542,800, for Black members, it was $282,400 and for Latino members, it was $330,800.
According to the report, white Realtors were both the most likely (76 percent) to say that real estate is their only career and the least likely to say that they have another source of income (24 percent). By contrast, black Realtors were most likely to say they had another job outside of real estate (50 percent) and the least likely to list real estate as their only source of income (51 percent).
White Realtors had a median tenure of 10 years, at least twice that of Asian members (five years), Black members (four) and Latino members (four). White Realtors also closed more than double the number of residential transactions in 2020 (seven), than their Latino (three), Black (two) or Asian (two) counterparts.
White Realtors also reported a median residential sales volume in 2020 more than four times that of Black Realtors: $1,998,000 compared to $474,500. Median volume for Asian Realtors came in at $1,017,000 and for Latinos at $766,500.
Latino and white Realtors were the most likely to work in the suburbs at 56 percent and 55 percent respectively. Black members were the most likely to work in urban areas at 37 percent. The largest shares of members who work in small towns (18 percent) and rural areas (8 percent) were Asian or Pacific Islander, the report said.
Some of the income difference between LGBTQ+ members and straight members may be explained by higher home prices: the median home sale price where LGBTQ+ members worked was $347,000 compared to $324,700 for straight members. LGBTQ+ members were more likely to work in an urban area (42 percent) than straight/heterosexual members (27 percent), and less likely to work in the suburbs (39 percent vs. 50 percent) or small towns (9 percent vs. 14 percent).
But LGBTQ+ members also typically completed one more transaction than straight members: a median of five with a sale volume of $1,622,200 vs. four transactions and $1,303,300 for straight members.
Black Realtors were the most likely to report having to work another job as a challenge in their first year of a residential real estate career compared to all residential members (41 percent vs. 30 percent) while Asian members were the most likely to say finding clients (77 percent vs. 73 percent) and getting proper training and education (27 percent vs. 23 percent) were challenges in their first year.
Black Realtors were the most likely (54 percent) to report real estate was their second career. Nearly a quarter of Latino Realtors (24 percent) and a fifth of Asian Realtors started their careers in real estate, the report said.
Males in residential real estate reported working a median 30 hours per week compared to a median 35 hours for females. White members reported working a median 35 hours per week in residential real estate compared to 25 hours each for Asian and Black members and 30 hours for Latino members. Straight members reported working a median 30 hours compared to 35 hours for LGBTQ+ members.
Only a quarter of white members (25 percent) had ownership interest in a real estate firm compared to 36 percent for Asian members, 26 percent for Black members and 28 percent for Hispanic members.
Most residential Realtors (62 percent) chose a real estate career path on their own and a majority said self-motivation and good people and problem-solving skills were the most important traits for success, according to the report.