The age and experience levels of Realtors is decreasing, resulting in a drop in median incomes industry wide.
Those are part of the findings of the 2016 National Association of Realtors Member Profile, which discovered that association members’ median age fell to 53 last year from 57 in 2014.
That’s the lowest seen since 2008, when the NAR reported that the median age of Realtors was 52.
“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 Tome Salomone.
That was up from 11 percent in the previous report.
Charlotte Regional Realtor Association President Maren Brisson-Kuester said she has seen that trend.
“We’re a good cross section of the nation,” she said. “It makes sense because every industry is seeing a large younger set coming into it.”
Brisson-Kuester, who was 23 when she began working in real estate, said beginning a career in home sales at a young age can be a good thing.
“You’re like a sponge,” she said. “You want to come in and learn.” Most young people are delaying marriage and children, and are not looking for a second career. They will take the time to attend real estate classes and have a good work ethic, she said.
The rise in younger Realtors, who typically earn less than those with experience, along with limited inventory and no growth in the average number of transactions per year, has translated into falling incomes.
The median gross income fell to $39,200 last year from $45,800 in 2014. The average number of transactions stayed the same, at 11 per year.
Inventory has been at historic lows in the Charlotte region, registering at just a 2.9-month supply of available homes on the market in April. That’s well below the six-month supply considered to indicate a balanced market.
But, it was an uptick from March, when the area had just a 2.8 month supply.
“We’re seeing some positive (momentum) in that regard,” Brisson-Kuester said, adding that a slow increase in inventory is preferable to a sharp rise. If the latter were to occur, the steady increase seen in local home prices would quickly drop off, she said.
The NAR, meanwhile, found that the typical Realtor is a 53-year-old white female homeowner with a college background.
Those entering the business tend to be more diverse than those with experience, with 90 percent of Realtors with 16 or more years of experience being white. The share of whites with two years or less in the industry is much lower, at 78 percent, the NAR said.
Brisson-Kuester said the more ethnically diverse crowd entering real estate is a reflection of the country’s changing demographics.
“It’s normal, not unusual at all,” she said, adding that the CRRA has long had a diversity council and been active in youth professional networking events.
“We, as a culture, are more diverse,” she explained.
The NAR also said that more women are entering the field, with the number of female Realtors rising 4 percentage points between 2014 and 2015 to 62 percent.
Tight inventory and the subsequent difficulty in finding the right property is the top concern among Realtors for the fourth consecutive year. Obtaining mortgage financing was the second-largest hurdle restricting buyer transactions, the NAR said.
This year marks the first time members were asked about the use of drones in their business. A majority of the Realtors surveyed, 56 percent, do not currently use drones. Of the remaining Realtors, 18 percent said they planned to use a drone in the future, 11 percent had hired a professional to operate a drone, 12 percent reported that a co-worker had used one, and 3 percent had operated a drone.
That also is something the CRRA has seen, Brisson-Kuester said.
“Drones haven’t taken off as of yet,” she said, adding that using them to provide information on smaller lots in planned subdivisions wouldn’t make sense.
“But video tours would be really cool to look at for something like a big estate,” she said. “There is a market for that.”
NAR’s 2016 Member Profile is based on a survey of more than 150,000 members that generated 10,194 usable responses. The NAR is the largest trade association in the United States.