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NAR Survey Offers Positive Snapshot of Member Productivity

March 30, 2021

Three in five residential (62%) and commercial (59%) REALTORS® selected a real estate career path on their own without having a professional connection that introduced them to the industry, according to a new report, which surveyed members of the National Association of REALTORS® and broke down the findings by demographic groups.

NAR released its 2021 Career Choices in Real Estate: Through the Lens of Gender, Race, and Sexual Orientation report on Tuesday. The report examined why members entered real estate, the skills important for success, the typical number of transactions, sales volume, and income. The report also analyzed differences by gender, race, sexual orientation, and real estate specialty—whether residential, commercial, or both. Key findings include:

  • Three in five residential REALTORS® (59%) reported being attracted by working with people.
  • Fifty-two percent of commercial members and 47% of residential members were attracted by the field’s entrepreneurial nature.
  • Eighty-one percent of LGBTQ REALTORS® and 75% of straight or heterosexual REALTORS® reported that problem-solving skills are needed to succeed in residential real estate.
  • The median number of years in residential real estate for white or Caucasian REALTORS® (10 years) was at least twice that of all other ethnic groups: five years for Asian or Pacific Islander members, four years for Black or African American members, and four years for Hispanic or Latino members.
  • Sixty-six percent of commercial REALTORS® and 21% of residential REALTORS® earned more than $100,000 in gross personal income in 2020.
  • Among members working exclusively in residential real estate, median gross personal income in 2020 was higher for men ($35,700) than for women ($33,500); higher for White or Caucasian members ($49,400) than for other ethnic groups (Asian or Pacific Islander members, Hispanic or Latino members, and Black or African American members came in at $27,400, $26,600, and $16,700, respectively); and higher for LGBTQ REALTORS® ($38,800) than for straight or heterosexual REALTORS® ($34,100).

“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. “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.”

In February, NAR sent a survey to 208,000 members. A sample of 18,209 members responded to the survey, and oversamples for each area were collected. The confidence interval at a 95% level of confidence is +/–0.72 percent based on a population of 1.4 million members.