Realtor earnings skid 13% in 2008


If you're mad at the real estate agent who sold you an overpriced, over-hyped investment property a couple years ago -- and promised you'd get rich from it -- you can take some comfort in this: 2008 was a bad year to be a real estate agent too.

Nationally, the median income for real estate agents slid 13% in 2008, driven by a decline of about 7% in sale prices and a sharper plunge in sales volume. Some highlights from the press release:

  • "The survey shows the typical NAR member is 54-years-old, works 40 hours per week and specializes in residential brokerage; 60% are women." Only about 4% are under 30-years-old.

  • "The median income was $36,700 in 2008, down from $42,600 in 2007."

  • There about 1.2 million Realtors in the United States, down about 100,000 from the 2006 peak.

The good news is that, as sales volume picks up and the number of real estate agents continues to decline, those who stay in the business could prosper. Better yet, the tough market is washing out the incompetent and inexperienced opportunists, which provides consumers with a better level of service. The popping real estate bubble that pushed shoddy real estate agents and mortgage brokers out of the industry may well help to prevent future systemic problems as well.