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The year 2021 was a white-hot one for home sales and home prices and Realtors made the most of it.
Median gross income for Realtors grew 25.3 percent last year to $54,300 from $43,300 in 2020 — an $11,000 increase, according to the recently released National Association of Realtors 2022 Member Profile.
The typical Realtor had a sales volume of $2.6 million, up from $2.1 million in 2020 and $2.3 million in 2019 and closed 12 transactions, up from 10 in 2020 but flat from 2019. Except for 2020, the median number of transaction sides per Realtor has stood at 11 or 12 annually since at least 2012.
Meanwhile, total median business expenses rose 17.3 percent in 2021 to $6,250, compared to $5,330 in 2020 but nearly flat from 2019 ($6,290).
The median gross income of Realtor households rose 7.5 percent in 2021 to $125,500 from $116,700 in 2020.
More than half, 61 percent, of Realtors said real estate was their only occupation both now and before the pandemic, while 14 percent had another income source pre-COVID but now only work in real estate and 22 percent said that real estate has never been their only occupation.
The trade group’s report noted its membership count swelled to 1.56 million at the end of 2021 from 1.48 million at the end of 2020, reflecting a market in which the most existing homes sold since 2006: 6.12 million.
About two-thirds of Realtors, 67 percent, hold sales agent licenses while 21 are brokers, 14 percent are broker associates and 1 percent are appraisers. The vast majority of Realtors, 71 percent, specialize in residential brokerage.
Broken down by role, the median gross income for brokers and broker associates last year was $90,000, while the median for sales agents was $38,300 — the latter is up 13.3 percent from $33,800 in 2020.
The NAR report noted that “income was typically commensurate with experience” and the typical sales agent had six years of experience last year. The typical NAR member had eight years of experience in 2021, the same as in 2020. Just over a third, 36 percent, of the typical Realtor’s business came from repeat business or referrals, up from 34 percent in 2020.
Realtors with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $85,000, up 13.3 percent from $75,000 in 2020. Nearly half of that business, 44 percent, came from repeat business from clients or referrals, up from 37 percent in 2020.
At the same time, Realtors with two or fewer years of experience had a median gross income of $8,800, up from $8,500 in 2020, of which none came from repeat business or referrals.
“The typical Realtor [in 2021] was a 56-year-old white female who attended college and was a homeowner,” the report said. The median age for Realtors was 54 in 2020 and 55 in 2019.
The share of Realtors who were women in 2021 rose to 66 percent, up from 65 percent in 2020 and 64 percent in 2019.
The vast majority of Realtors in 2021 were White (77 percent, down from 78 percent in 2020 and 80 percent in 2019). The remainder were Hispanic or Latino (11 percent), Black or African American (8 percent) and Asian or Pacific Islander (5 percent).
“When compared to more experienced members, new members tended to be more diverse,” the report said. “Among those who had two years or less of experience, 37% were racial minorities, an increase from 34% one year ago.”
Nearly all Realtors, 93 percent, reported completing some postsecondary education including 31 percent who earned a bachelor’s degree, 6 percent with some graduate school education and 14 percent with a graduate degree.
Just over half of Realtors, 54 percent, reported working with an independent company rather than a franchise and 87 percent said they were independent contractors. Both of those figures “are nearly identical to one year ago,” the report said.
NAR’s 2022 Member Profile was generated through a 97-question survey emailed to a random sample of 176,494 Realtors in March 2022. A total of 9,220 responses were received from members, which translates to an adjusted response rate of 5.2 percent. Responses were weighted to represent state-level NAR membership. While compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions data is reflective of calendar year 2021, all other data that emerged from the survey represents member characteristics from early 2022.