U.S. Real Estate Job Market Outlook for 2014: Industry Growth Ahead?

With the way the housing market has improved in recent years, it’s no surprise the real estate job market is expected to grow. New agents are entering the field to take advantage of increased career stability and industry growth. As a result, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expects to see 11% growth in the real estate job market between now and 2022.

The housing crisis brought tough times for real estate agents. Across the U.S., local housing markets ground to a halt as prices plummeted. Nobody wanted to buy a house for fear of continued depreciation. Many agents and brokers left the business for other careers, wondering if things would ever improve. Only the most dedicated rode out the storm. As a result, the real estate job market contracted like never before.

Real Estate Job Market in 2014

Fast forward to 2014. The U.S. Labor Department is now predicting “average” growth for the real estate industry over the coming years. Their data suggest an 11% increase in the number of agents and brokers working in the U.S., through the end of 2022.

real estate jobs outlook

According to BLS figures, there are roughly 422,000 real estate agents and brokers in the U.S., as of their last measurement in 2012. Based on the Bureau’s ten-year projection of 11% growth, that means there are probably around 430,000 real estate professionals in the market today, in 2014. That number is expected to climb to approximately 468,600 by 2022.

Other Notes on the Industry

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ career outlook for the real estate industry includes other notes about this particular job sector. Here are some of the salient points:

  • According to BLS, home buyers “increasingly use real estate brokers and sales agents” when buying houses. This, combined with general improvements in the housing market and broader economy, will create more job opportunities within the industry.
  • Population growth across the country continues to increase the need for real estate agents and brokers.
  • Increased mobility among the U.S. populace is another driving factor. In short, Americans move around more today than in the past. This increases the total number of real estate transactions (the buying and selling of homes), as well as the need for professional help to guide these transactions.
  • Job growth is expected in the commercial real estate industry as well. A slowly but steadily improving economy, combined with increased consumer spending, will increase the need for agents and brokers to handle commercial, retail and industrial property sales.

Of course, this is a cyclical industry. While the BLS estimate predicts 11% growth over the long term, through 2022, there will certainly be some ups and downs between now and then. The real estate industry is sensitive to economic fluctuations. Periods of economic growth tend to increase the demand for agents and brokers — and the housing-related job sector along with it. Economic downturns have the opposite effect, reducing demand for these services.

Starting a Career in Real Estate

How does one become a real estate agent? The laws and regulations vary by state, but the minimum requirements are similar across the board. In most states, the individual must have a high school diploma or GED, and must pass a real estate licensing exam administered by the state. There are educational requirements as well. A certain number of courses must be completed, prior to taking the exam.

According to BLS, it’s “relatively easy to enter the occupation.” Complete the state-required courses, pass the exam, and you’re a licensed real estate agent. But getting clients is a different story entirely. Many local markets are saturated with agents competing for business. This is especially true in larger cities and metro areas, and in the more robust housing markets where there is often more demand for these services.

Having worked with dozens of real estate agents over the years, we find this to be the biggest challenge for those entering the field. “I just got my real estate license. Now what? How do I get clients?” New agents must work hard to differentiate themselves, and their services, if they want to succeed in this increasingly competitive industry.

Additional Information
To learn more about the Labor Department’s real estate job outlook for 2014, and other industry notes, visit the following web address:
www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/real-estate-brokers-and-sales-agents.htm