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18 years ago

Could I ask a huge favor?
Could I ask a huge favor? Can you seek permission to repost the chart here? * gets blocked by the filters at work. I imagine I am not alone in this handicap.


18 years ago

Seems to me that, for your
Seems to me that, for your average person, getting a real estate license is something that takes a while from deciding you want to do it to actually getting your license. So perhaps the people who got their licenses in March 2006 decided to get them a year or more before that. So I wonder whether the rise in agents this year represents optimism that actually occurred last year.

On a related note, there’s this guy at work. Actually one of the more intelligent people I know. He’s asking me how I like renting, about my situation, etcetera. Then he starts talking about how prices are going to go up 10% a year. When I say something along the lines of, “maybe in another 5-10 years they’ll start going up like that again,” he says, “no, they’ll go up 10% a year for a while, and then when times are good again, they’ll go up more than that. They always go up.” After a brief discussion about aggressive lending, affordability, income/price ratio, prices vs. inflation over the last few decades, etcetera, I mention 1990-1997 to him and ask me what he thinks about that. He looks at me like I’m a person who’s just told him the sky is green. Then all intellectual activity ceases, and he more or less runs away.

So yes, there’s still optimism out there. Which, of course, is one of the reasons these things take so long to turn around. People’s opinions have a lot of inertia, especially if those opinions would (were they truth) mean more money for the persons holding them.

Of course, if prices do go down significantly, those opinions will be swayed eventually. And when those opinions change to “don’t buy a house; you’ll lose money,” they’ll stay there too long just like the optimism stayed too long.

18 years ago
Reply to  zk

I’ve got a better one:

I’ve got a better one:
A member of my family will be taking their real estate exam soon. I opined on the real estate market one day and their response to me was…”yeah, I hear it is a buyer’s market, now.”

ummm….I would like to think it is important to know what the market conditions are/will be just before one would make a career change like this.

By the way, is anyway else perplexed by the statements “It’s a buyer’s market” or “it’s a seller’s market”???

I mean, I know specifically what is meant by these statements but they just sound illogical and oxymoronic.

“End of line.”

18 years ago
Reply to  speaker

I don’t know how anyone can
I don’t know how anyone can argue that its a buyer’s market. The prices in the most bubblicious areas of the country are so high, less than 10% of the income earning population can afford the median home price. This means that 90% of the available investment capital is priced out of the market or has to take on absurd credit risk to play in the market. That seems to indicate that the market is over-bought and due for a correction.

Now it may no longer be a seller’s market, of course. Sellers are competing against ever increasing inventory (including many new developments started during the boom that are just finishing and coming on the market now), but until the above fact changes, I think we will see supply outpacing demand. In those cases, prices invariably fall, eventually. Then, and only then, will it be a buyer’s market.

As for the career change, it reminds me of being a CS PhD student in 2000. We had all these kids coming in as freshman CS majors dreaming of getting out in 4 years and working in the ‘New Economy’. Most were gone by 2002. Enrollment literally more than halfed in one year. Those that remained had a true interest in the subject matter.

18 years ago

I couldn’t stay quiet after
I couldn’t stay quiet after seeing this chart. I’ve been researching the CA and SD employment data, and this chart comes from the CA Dept of RE, and lists the cumulative licenses they’ve given out. However, this is not the number of active realtors. I appreciate CR’s blog, and he’s doing the best he can with the difficulty involved in getting employment data.

The CA Occupational Data lists the following for 2005 Q3:
RE broker: 4420 CA, 360 San Diego
RE sales: 9900 CA, 1380 San Diego
interior designer: 5430 CA, 600 SD
Note: 2001 Q3 2520 CA, 250 SD

First point: the data comes from employers, so self-employed or illegals (both are known as the informal sector) are not counted in any occupational data. To get the count on the informal sector, check the Household Survey, also known as the CPS (Current Population Survey) from The informal employment doesn’t show up in the formal sector, and at 1.6 million, is actually 10% of CA’s total payroll employment, the highest ratio of any state. This is where realtors and contractors and loan officers are found. Financial activities are 20% of the informal sector jobs, and is up 130K people in the last 2 years. Construction and other services bouth account for slightly less.

Second point: The secondary effect of the RE boom goes much wider than is commonly reported: interior designers, carpenters, carpet layers, retail salespeople, fast food cooks (almost doubled in 3 years to 6800), carpet installers (doubled in 2 years to 2100).

If anyone knows the total number of active real estate agents, please list it here.

18 years ago
Reply to  powayseller

PS – you can try to
PS – you can try to extrapolate the number of active agents with this data.

Per Sandicor, there are currently 27,899 active paying members. I would assume most of these are active brokers and agents as non-actives would not continue paying dues for long. However, this number also includes local appraisers and mortgage brokers not active in listing/selling.

Per OREA, there are currently 1,726 appraisers in San Diego County of which 585 are trainees and may be inactive or using their mentor’s MLS access. Not a big number as compared to total paying members.

18 years ago
Reply to  sdappraiser

How many in CA, how many in
How many in CA, how many in the San Diego MSA?

Thanks for the data. The CA employment data is too variable to be reliable. This is the data they have for RE Sales Agents in
CA and the SD MSA:
2001 Q3 20,500 1670
2002 Q3 14,530 950
2003 Q3 14,810 1540
2004 Q3 7,590 1040
2005 Q3 9,900 1380

What explains the decline in 2002? and the dip in 2004? This data comes from polling employers. If in 2002, RE brokers started moving agents from office payrolls to independent contractor status, this makes sense. Otherwise, I can’t see much use for these numbers.

Now, when we look at secondary effects of the RE boom in San Diego MSA, you can see the trend of increasing employment. Take interior designers. From 2001Q3 – 2005Q3, employment went was 2520, 4130, 4500, 4840, 5430. This is a doubling of interior designers in 4 years.

Large number jumps occured in retail (+4K in 2 yrs), fast food cooks (doubled to 6800 in 3 yrs), carpet installers (doubled to 2200 in 3 yrs).

Still, with so much informal employment (illegals, independent contractors), it’s hard to gauge a trend because the numbers jump around a lot. Retail salespeople, tile setters, and roofers declined 10% in 2003, then picked back up in 2004. Why?

I think that looking at employment numbers is giving me limited insight, since the data collection has too many weaknesses.