A member asked us this week how the ‘average’ REALTOR® has changed over the last few decades. The short answer is surprisingly not very much.
Member Profiles in published form go back at least until the mid-1970s, but it’s a bit tough to make an apples to apples comparison. Back then only agents with a broker or broker associate license could call themselves REALTORS® and the surveys reflected this. And even after sales agents were added as REALTORS®, up until the early 1990s, member profile reports divide data between broker and agent. So it is hard to get an overall sense of the average member and how it compares to today. However, a quick glance at some statistics is useful.
A few things have changed dramatically. Back in 1975, only 18 percent of brokers and only 37 percent of broker-associates were women. In 2011, 50 percent of brokers are women and 63 percent of sales agents are women. 36 years ago, only 70 percent of REALTORS® had at least some college education. Today the figure is over 90 percent. And finally, although race wasn’t reported in the print reports until 1990 when 95 percent of all REALTORS® were white, membership today has broadened so that only 82 percent of members are white.
But on the whole the ‘median’ or average REALTOR® has stayed relatively stable since the early 1990s: Early 50s, earning a median gross income of $34,100, and living in her own home. Initially the influx of new members in the mid-2000s brought the average income down (the high was in 2003 at $52,200). As the Great Recession dug in, that number has stayed down.