Supply of Agents Shrinks with Market

For the past several years, soaring house values have brought an increase of another kind – the number of real estate agents in our area. I knew we had added lots of new agents, because I no longer recognize the majority of faces at industry events.

I also know that the competition for listings and buyers has increased dramatically. I personally know fewer and fewer of the agents showing my listings.

What I didn’t realize is that 70% of the agents who belong to the Prince George’s County Association of REALTORS® (PGCAR) joined since 2003. In June 2003, we had roughly 1,360 agents. Now we have 4, 618. That’s a stunning 238% increase in membership in just 3 years.

This means that more than two-thirds of the agents who belong to PGCAR as their primary board have been licensed for fewer than three years. Their experience is limited to a hot market where houses sell in days or hours.

But now that the market has cooled and the prospect of quick money is gone, the newbies are likely to start pouring out. More people are expected to leave as the expenses and the unrelenting pressure to sell mount.

I think that a lot of newer agents aren’t ready for the stress and the hours of anything other than a hot market. They don’t know how to make a house sell when there are so many for sale. A slower market is a more expensive market for real estate agents and the paychecks may be fewer.

I already know several agents who have taken another job to make ends meet. It’s frustrating for me (I work full-time in real estate) to work all day long and then have to work in the evening as well – just to reach agents who are un-reachable during the day.

I’m proud of the agents who made an effort to really learn our industry. They’ll be successful regardless of the type of market we’re in. I’ll be just as happy to see the last of those looking for easy money.

© 2006 Susan Pruden.

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