Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.
Because people are increasingly using real estate brokers and sales agents when purchasing homes, employment is projected to grow as the real estate market improves.
Both financial and nonfinancial factors spur demand for home sales. Real estate is perceived as a good long-term investment, and many people want to own their homes.
Population growth also will continue to stimulate the need for new brokers and agents. The large millennial generation will be entering the prime working-age and household-forming age cohort over the next decade. Although this generation has delayed home ownership because of financial and debt considerations, it is projected that many will enter the housing market over the next 10 years.
In addition to being first-time home buyers, people will need brokers and agents when looking for a larger home, relocating for a new job, and other reasons.
An improving job market and rising consumer spending also will drive demand for brokers and agents to handle commercial, retail, and industrial real estate transactions.
However, the real estate market is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, and employment of real estate brokers and agents will vary accordingly. In periods of economic growth or stability, employment should grow to accommodate people looking to buy homes and businesses looking to expand office or retail space. Alternatively, during periods of declining economic activity or rising interest rates, the amount of work for brokers and agents will slow and employment may decline.
It is relatively easy to enter the occupation, but getting listings as a broker or an agent depends on the real estate market and overall economic conditions. As the economy expands and more people look to buy homes, job competition may increase as more people obtain their real estate license. In contrast, although the real estate market declines in an economic downturn, there also tend to be fewer active and licensed real estate agents.
New agents will face competition from well-established, more experienced brokers and agents. Because income is dependent on sales, beginners may have trouble sustaining themselves in the occupation during periods of slower activity.
Brokers should fare better because they generally have a large client base from years of experience as sales agents. Those with strong sales ability and extensive social and business connections in their communities should have the best chances for success.
Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24
Total, all occupations
Sales and related occupations
Real estate sales agents
Real estate brokers and sales agents
Real estate brokers
Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy. Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program