BAM Key Points: 

  • According to recent stats from the Austin Board of Realtors, nearly half of the 19,893 Realtor members haven’t sold a single home in 2023. About two-thirds have sold two or fewer homes this year, and only 2% have sold at least 14 homes so far (2+ per month).
  • According to the 2023 Association Profile by the National Association of Realtors®, nearly three-quarters of local Realtor associations have fewer than 2,000 members, making ABOR, with its 19,893 members, more reflective of national Realtor activity. 

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) released its 2023 Association Profile with some interesting stats on local associations, which is only a partial distraction from the latest reason NAR has made the headlines

In other news, one of our favorite Austin Realtors, Jeremy Knight, shared some eye-opening numbers on Realtor activity in 2023, specifically with regard to the Austin Board of Realtors®


Source: Austin Board of Realtors (ABOR), courtesy of Jeremy Knight

Looking at the numbers for ABOR, it’s worth noting that, according to the NAR, many local Realtor associations are much smaller. Nearly three-quarters (74%), in fact, have fewer than 2,000 members. 

The Austin Board of Realtors® has nearly ten times as many. And the breakdown of agent stats offers something closer to the national view of real estate agent activity in 2023. 

Byron Lazine went over the numbers in a recent Hot Sheet episode. Here are some of the biggest takeaways: 

  • Nearly half the agents in ABOR (48%) haven’t sold a single home in 2023 (9,623 of the 19,893 members)! 
  • About one in three (32.9%) have sold at least two homes. 
  • Less than a quarter (23.3%) have sold at least three. 
  • Fewer than one in ten (7.4%) agents had sold seven homes by August—about one sale a month. 

Put another way, about two out of three Austin agents (66.7%) have sold two homes or fewer so far this year! Unless the price point of those two homes is in the stratosphere, those two sales (or fewer) probably won’t keep you above the poverty line. 

And that begs the question of whether these agents are working in real estate full-time or as a side gig or experiment—with an “If this works, great; if not, on to the next thing” mindset. 

If you’re a new agent, two sales over seven months isn’t enough to really learn the ropes, either, which makes it difficult to say whether or not real estate is working for you (or vice versa). 

Those agents just aren’t in the right environment to actually learn how to do the business.

Byron Lazine

As Byron pointed out in last week’s episode of the Knowledge Brokers Podcast, committed knowledge brokers can easily move up the ladder by joining the “prospecting over picnics” camp. That could mean working weekends while other agents in your market are taking that time off. It could also mean postponing your vacation for a time when buyers and sellers are least likely to transact. 

In any case, these stats also raise the question of what team leaders can do to help their agents join what is currently a tiny minority of Realtors—the ones selling at least two homes a month. A larger minority (7.4%) is selling at least one home a month; that’s still less than one out of ten. 

The industry has about 10x the number of agents it needs

Given the abysmal sales stats for the vast majority of real estate agents in Austin, which, given its size, is more representative of the national picture of Realtor activity in the U.S., it’s worth asking the question: “Do we have too many real estate agents?” 

Byron had a chance to discuss this last week with Tom Ferry, who stated the industry only needs 158,000 agents—yet there are over 1.5 million with active real estate licenses. 

Put another way, we have around ten times as many real estate agents as we need. 

Some are arguing in favor of tighter standards for acquiring a real estate license. But making it harder to keep the license you have may be a more effective way to shrink the pool of agents to those who are committed to providing above-and-beyond service to as many as possible. 

Tom suggested a minimum annual sales target agents would need to reach to keep their license active, which is worth considering at least for license holders currently serving their communities as real estate agents. Byron added that there are other uses for a real estate license, and different performance metrics would apply to uses other than selling real estate. 

Still, it may be time to try setting a minimum standard for real estate agents—if only to see how many meet those targets if they know their future in the industry is on the line. 

Byron and The Broke Agent will be joining Jeremy Knight at the Elite Agent Austin event on Friday, September 8th.