Agent Update for 2008

25%. That’s my new prediction for the number of Realtors in the Charlottesville area who will drop out next year. Writing this post gave me the opportunity to re-read and reflect on this post from October of last year – Are you willing to martyr yourself to the industry? when I thought this year we would see a 15%-20% reduction in the ranks.

USA Today had an article last week notable not just for the information in the article but also the hatred and vitriol found in the comments.

•Real estate agents are fleeing the business. After steadily rising during the housing boom, the number of real estate agents fell by nearly 25,000 from December 2006 through December 2007, compared with a growth of 12,500 from December 2005 to December 2006, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall employment of real estate agents dropped from 1.5 million in 2006 to 1.47 million last year.

•After seeing its membership swell 89% from 1998 to 2006 (hitting nearly 1.4 million), the National Association of Realtors saw its numbers slip 1.5% last year, to 1.34 million. In July this year, the NAR had 1.26 million members.

“Some members are saying there are too many Realtors out there who are bringing additional competition, and a shake-up is expected,” says Lawrence Yun, the NAR’s chief economist. “We do anticipate lower membership going forward since housing recovery is taking longer.”

First, Dr. Yun – the observation about “too many Realtors” is one that you made in March of this year, and it’s not one about competition, but professionalism (or lack thereof).

Taking gleeful joy in the misfortunes of others is unconscionable and confounds understanding. There is very real pain, fear and desperation in the Realtor community, just as there is in many parts of the American economy right now.

The cycle and the dropout is normal, necessary and painful. Many who are suffering – within the Realtor community and without – are friends, colleagues, mentors – who are experiencing very real fiscal and psychological pain.


71 Realtors have had more than 10 sides this year*

206 have had more than 5 sides

448 Realtors have had between one and four transactions this year.

– ~545 have had none.

Unless you’re the one guy who sells five properties with an average sale price of about $6 million, having less than ten sides a year is not going to cut it. (See Transparency in real estate fees and More on transparency in Realtor fees)

Contrast those numbers with those of 2007

103 had more than 10 sides (31% fewer than last year)

287 had more than 5 sides (28% fewer than last year)

448 had between one and four transactions (I ran it twice)

– ~460 had none.

And 2006

152 Realtors had more than 10 sides

333 have had more than 5 sides

450 Realtors have had between one and four transactions this year.

– ~ 415 had none.

Transactional volume is down (but not gone) –

Charlottesville and Albemarle real estate market historical inventory trends

Even if I had had only five transactions so far this year, I would still publish these updates Рbetter to attempt to keep the fa̤ade intact.

* Charlottesville, Albemarle, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Nelson – from 1 January through 5 August.

Update 8/20/2008: As a result of a discussion on an Active Rain blog, a point of clarification: while I am a member of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors’ Board of Directors, my prediction is mine, and not necessarily reflective of the BoD’s opinions/predictions.

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  1. Pingback: The Jetty Blog » Blog Archive » Up to 25% of Realtors Gone by Next Year

  2. Amy Webb August 20, 2008 at 10:39

    Good morning Jim. I think your prediction is optimistic. Look for a huge drop in Jan 09, after another Christmas season has passed ( with the attendant spending) and people have had time to take stock. I’m not saying that’s a good thing, I am just saying it’s a real thing….Just my 2 cents….Amy 🙂

  3. Jim Duncan August 20, 2008 at 21:02

    Amy –

    Thanks for the comment and I agree – next year is likely to bring significant changes …


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