Hot housing market draws influx of new real estate agents

The red-hot housing market has achieved a number of milestones this past year. Perhaps the most telling is this: There are more real estate agents than homes for sale in the U.S., according to The Wall Street Journal. 

This phenomenon reflects both the extremely tight supply of homes on the market and how surging prices are persuading tens of thousands more Americans to try their hands at selling real estate. In Baton Rouge, Burk Baker School of Real Estate and Appraising has seen a 25% increase in enrollment over the past several months, says school co-owner Andrew Baker. 

“Really the first bump we saw in enrollment was when the first round of stimulus checks went out,” Baker says. “And we’ve been seeing more people enrolling across the state really for the last five to six months.” 

Across the country, the National Association of Realtors’ membership count has exceeded the number of homes on the market only once before, in December 2019, when the number of agents dipped slightly but the inventory of homes for sale declined by more. It happened again last October and has held ever since. 

At the end of January, there were 1.04 million homes for sale. That is down 26% from a year earlier and the lowest on record going back to 1982, according to the National Association of Realtors. Also in January, the NAR had 1.45 million members, up 4.8% from a year earlier.

It is easy to understand why so many people would sign up for the real estate profession, WSJ reports: The pandemic eliminated millions of jobs, especially in service industries such as restaurants and hospitality. The booming housing market suggests there is a lot of money to be made selling homes. Read the full story.