Someone called today, seeking advice on becoming a real estate agent in Phoenix. We chatted about the pros and cons, and then they asked, “So, how’s the competition? Just how many real estate agents are there in Phoenix?”
Good question. The answer off the top of my head was “a boatload”.
Just over a year ago, I posted that there were 47,675 individuals in the Phoenix MLS area with an active real estate sales or brokers license.
How does that look today?
Returning to the publicly accessible data at the Arizona Department of Real Estate, I down loaded a whopper of a file that contains info on current, expired and former license holders in Arizona. I culled and massaged it until I got all of the active sales and brokers licensees for both Maricopa and Pinal counties into one spreadsheet (barely).
As of May 8, 2008, there are 45,243 active real estate licensees of one flavor or another in Maricopa and Pinal counties — roughly the coverage area for the Arizona Regional Multiple Listing Service (ARMLS) which covers the greater Phoenix metro area.
There are currently 7,997 folks holding an active brokers license (up from 7,694 in March 2007) and 37,246 with an active sales license (down from 39,981 in March 2007).
While the overall numbers are down over the past 14 months, it’s not quite the exodus that many (myself included) thought would happen. 943 have received freshly printed licenses this year alone. The real estate schools are still churning them out, albeit at a slower rate than in the peak year of 2005. Yes, people are leaving the business, but new people are still coming in. I’ll dig through the expired and inactive licenses later and see if there is anything of note. I’m curious to see if there is any correlation between expired licenses and how long they were active (ie: is is just new people letting licenses lapse, or are the “old-times” getting hammered too?)
Of note, “active” license does not mean the holder is actively selling real estate for a living. It simply means the license is active from the Department of Real Estate’s perspective.
Many people get a real estate license and do nothing with it. Many property and commercial managers hold licenses, never intending to use them to transact physical real property. Countless hundreds (if not thousands) are part-time agents at best.
But still. 45,243 people with active real estate licenses in the Phoenix market qualifies as “a boatload”.
If you are interested in starting a career in real estate sales, be aware there are a ton of competitors. Many of which are absolutely brilliant real estate practitioners. Others… meh. Not-so-much. Pretty typical of any large industry.
How does this affect real estate buyers and sellers? Simple — you have a LOT of people to chose from. Choose carefully and wisely.
While there is far more than “years of service” that define a qualified real estate agent, time on the job is none-the-less an oft discussed item. As such, I present you with these summary statistics for the population of 37,246 currently holding a real estate sales license:
Mean number of years licensed: 6.8
Median number of years licensed: 4.1
Standard deviation: 6.9 (in other words, the “spread” is large)
Maximum time licensed: 49.8 years
Minimum time licensed: 4 days
Below are a couple of charts showing the number of agents with current licenses and the year they were first licensed. These charts reflect real estate sales licenses only — no brokers licenses. Why? Because the clock “resets” when one gets a brokers license. For example, my license date in the database is February 2008 — when I got my brokers license. There is no reflection of when I first got my sales license. This confounds the data so it’s best to separate sales and brokers licenses for this particular analysis.
Also, don’t look at this chart and think, “Wow, hardly anyone got a license between 1958 – 1976.” That is not true. This chart reflects the number of people currently holding a license. The simple fact is, everyone except one person who got a license in 1958 is either retired from real estate, passed away, or moved on to something else.
This chart is the same data, only from 1997 through 2007. It just gives you a better look at the last 10 years….
I’m relatively certain these types of posts bore many readers to tears. For that I apologize. But this blog is the best place for me to store data and trends for future comparison. And lets face it, some people like them.
Personally, I can’t help myself. I blame it on 20+ years in the semiconductor manufacturing industry. While not an engineer by education (I’m not counting those two hazy years of Chemical Engineering classes at UT), you hang out with engineers for 20 years and something is bound to wear off on you.
For better or worse.