Total commission revenue in 2021 could ultimately top $100 billion for the first time ever, according to a new report from Knock.

A hot real estate market and rising home prices should lift total U.S. agent commissions to a record high this year, according to a new report from real estate technology startup Knock.

The analysis found that by the end of 2021, agents in the U.S. will likely have brought in $104 billion in total commission revenue, the report states. If that projection comes true, it’ll be the first time ever the industry hits that benchmark — though agents came close in 2020 when they collectively earned $90.5 billion in total commission revenue.

The report ultimately describes this year’s projected revenue as “a number that could quite possibly be making history.”

These findings are especially notable because, the report also points out, commissions have experienced “some downward pressure” in recent years. Nevertheless the total number of commission dollars agents generate continues to grow, and could ultimately end up this year being nearly double what it was back in 2002.

Credit: Knock

To create the report, Knock examined the Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage finance forecast for both 2020 and 2021. The company’s analysts then multiplied the number of actual and projected existing home sales in those years by the industry average commission rate of 4.94 percent. Knock assumed commission rates on new home sales would be half the rate for existing homes.

Knock ultimately believes 7.1 million homes will sell in 2021, the report additionally notes.

Commissions have become a hotly debated topic in recent years, thanks in part to a handful of lawsuits that challenge the way agents get paid. Among other things, the suits take aim at the practice of sellers agents splitting their commissions with buyers’ agents. Agent compensation is also at the heart of a lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice is pursuing against the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

None of those cases are resolved yet, but for now the new report from Knock suggests that in a tight market the agents who are doing business are generating significant amounts of revenue for themselves and their brokerages.

Aside from commissions, the report also includes other good news for real estate professionals: Consumers are turning to agents in growing numbers, despite some anxiety that people might abandon trusted advisors in favor of technology.

“Eighty-nine percent of consumers choose to rely on agents’ expertise to navigate these dynamics with more certainty,” the report notes. “This percentage has continued to trend upwards from previous years. And there is good reason; agents’ invaluable local market knowledge and personal touch have proven to outweigh other methods available in this complex transaction process.

Email Jim Dalrymple II

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription