July 12, 2024


Making a New Home

NAR Study: Membership Hits Record High and 79% Staying Put

3 min read

NAR had 1.48M Realtor members at the end of 2020, up from 1.4M one year earlier, and 4 out of 5 (79%) plan to stay in the profession at least two more years. Realtors with 16 years-plus experience made $75K, down from 2019’s $86.5K – but 1 in 4 members made $100K or more.

WASHINGTON – The No. 1 problem Realtors® had to deal with in 2020? A lack of inventory, according to the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) 2021 Member Profile, an annual report analyzing members’ business activity and demographics from the prior year. Members can download the report for $14.95; the cost is $149.95 for non-members.

However, in spite of a global pandemic, its impact on businesses and a dwindling housing supply, 2020 had the highest number of homes sold since 2006 (5.64 million), and NAR’s membership increased from 1.4 million at the end of 2019 to 1.48 million at the end of 2020.

“Realtors continued to serve clients’ needs despite the challenges 2020 brought to the real estate market,” says Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “Economic lockdowns and historically-low inventory coupled with surging home buying demand only showed the resilience of our members and industry.”

2021 Member Profile highlights

Realtors’ business activity

  • At 60%, the lack of inventory surpassed earlier rough spots – including difficulty finding the right property and housing affordability – as the most important factor limiting potential clients from making a purchase.
  • Most Realtors worked 35 hours per week, down from 36 hours in 2019.
  • The typical Realtor earned 15% of their business from repeat clients and customers, and 19% through referrals from past clients and customers.
  • 68% of Realtors hold sales agent licenses, up from 65% last year; 20% hold broker licenses and 13% hold broker associate licenses.
  • 73% specialize in residential brokerage. Most common secondary specialties include relocation, residential property management and commercial brokerage.
  • Members typically have eight years of real estate experience, down from nine in 2019; 18% have one year or less (17% last year), while 15% have more than 25 years of experience, down from 17% a year ago.
  • Appraisers, broker-owners and managers had the most experience, while sales agents were typically the newest to the field with five years’ experience.
  • Nearly four out of five members – 79% – were certain they’ll remain in the real estate industry for at least two more years.
  • The typical member had a slightly lower sales volume ($2.1 million vs. $2.3 million) and fewer transactions (10 vs. 12) compared to 2019.
  • The typical Realtor earned 15% of their business from referrals, unchanged from last year. Overall, Realtors earned a median of 19% of their business from referrals, a slight drop from 20% in 2019. Referrals were also more common among members with more experience.

Realtors’ income and expenses

  • In 2020, 37% of Realtors were compensated under a fixed commission split (under 100%), followed by 23% with a graduated commission split (increases with productivity).
  • Realtors with 16 years or more experience had a median gross income of $75,000 – down from $86,500 in 2019 – compared to Realtors with 2 years or less experience that had a median gross income of $8,500 – a decrease from $8,900 in 2019.
  • The largest expense category for most Realtors was vehicle expenses at $1,200. Total median business expenses were $5,330 in 2020, a decline from $6,290 in 2019.
  • Median gross income was $43,330 in 2020, down from $49,700 in 2019. One out of four Realtors earned $100,000 or more.

Realtors’ office and firm affiliation

  • 53% of Realtors were affiliated with an independent company.
  • 88% were independent contractors.
  • The median tenure with their current firm was five years.
  • 8% of Realtors worked for a firm bought or merged in the past two years.

Demographic characteristics

  • 78% percent of Realtors were white, down slightly from 80% last year; 9% were Hispanic/Latino; 7% were Black/African Americans; and 6% were Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • New members tended to be more diverse, however. Among Realtors with two years or less experience, 34% were minorities.
  • 65% were women, a minor increase from 64% in 2019.
  • The median age was 54, down slightly from 55 last year.
  • 33% of members were over 60 years old; 5% were 30 or younger.
  • 93% had some post-secondary education, and a third held a bachelor’s degree; 6% having some graduate school education, and 13% completed a graduate degree.
  • 69% of Realtors are married, 15% divorced, and 11% were single or never married. The typical household had two adults and no children.
  • 66% volunteer in their community, most common among members aged 40 to 49 years.


  • 69% of Realtors have a website for business use.
  • For professional use, Realtors were typically most active on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.
  • Realtors prefer to communicate with clients via text messaging (93%), followed by telephone (90%) and email (89%).

© 2021 Florida Realtors®

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