Realtors are getting younger.
That’s the main takeaway from the 2016 National Association of Realtors’ Member Profile, an annual survey of association members that looks at dozens of different trends affecting realtors and how they evolve. According to the survey, the median age of a realtor has decreased from 57-years old in 2014 to just 53-years old in 2015, the lowest median age since 2008, when it was 52-years.
“The median age of realtors is younger than in the past because more people entered the real estate profession this year than in past years, with 20 percent of members reporting one year or less of experience,” said NAR president Tom Salomone in a statement. “NAR is excited to have young, fresh perspectives enter the industry, and we are proud to offer resources for our younger members to advance and grow, such as the Young Professionals Network and ‘30 Under 30’ recognition.”
This trend is not just restricted to realtors however, but is actually part of a larger trend sweeping through the U.S. workforce. Pew Research found in a recent study that one-in-three workers are now “millennials”.
Notably, the percentage of realtors aged under 30-years old increased to five percent this year, up from two percent just one year ago. The number of older realtors has fallen meanwhile, with members aged over 60 years accounting for just 30 percent of the total, compared to 41 percent last year.
One interesting finding is that younger realtors generally come from more diverse ethnic backgrounds. The survey shows that 89 percent of realtors with 16+ years experience are white, compared to just 78 percent of those with less than two years’ experience.
Besides looking at ages and demographics, the survey also found that realtor’s incomes fell in the last year. Their median gross income dropped from $45,800 in 2014 to just $39,200 in 2015. However, it’s mostly the younger realtors who’re struggling to keep pace – among realtors with 16+ years of experience, median gross incomes actually rose to $73,400 a year, up from $68,800 per annum in 2014. This compares to a median gross income of just $8,500 for realtors with less than two experience, down from $9,100 last year.
Other findings show that growing numbers of realtors are moving away from residential real estate to specialize in other areas. Just 67 percent of realtors now focus on residential real estate, compared to 82 percent in 2014. Relocation is the second most popular area of specialization (17 percent of realtors), followed by residential property management (16 percent).
Realtors also provided insights on the biggest challenges they face, as well as their most popular technology tools. Some 38 percent of realtors agreed that the biggest challenge was finding the right property for their clients, while 19 percent said obtaining a mortgage was the toughest task. Seventy percent of realtors they use social media to find clients and properties, up from 65 percent last year. Realtors are also increasingly turning to electronic contact and forms software, e-document preparation programs, and contact management software.