Too many agents – for how long?

It’s odd to be quoted in the same article as industry leaders such as David Charron and Stefan Swanepoel, but here’s mine:

Jim Duncan, a Realtor for Century 21 Manley in Charlottesville, Va., and a member of the board of directors for the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, said the “80-20 rule” — that 20 percent of the folks in the industry do 80 percent of the business — seems to hold true in real estate, and he expects to see a lot of agents leaving. “I think that part-timers do a disservice to the industry because this is the business where you have to be up on the latest trends — everything that goes into a transaction on a day-to-day basis,” he said. “If you do two transactions a year you’re not serving your clients.”

The newest agents and the oldest ones seem to be the most likely to leave the business, he said, while “some may choose to keep a license for that odd referral.”

From today’s Inman article predicting that the number of Realtors will drop this year: (subscription required after today)

The trade group’s membership grew 89.6 percent during the latest spurt, from 716,078 members in 1997 to 1.36 million Realtors in 2006. But real estate is a cyclical business, and the housing market is slumping.

It has happened before — Realtor membership, like home homes sales and prices, tends to ebb and flow with economic cycles but has generally risen over time.

NAR projects that membership will drop 4.3 percent this year, to 1.3 million, and fall another 10 percent from that level to 1.17 million in 2008.

In the Charlottesville market area in 2006, 228 Realtors had at least 10 sides, or transactions – out of about 1250 total agents.

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