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  • A recent study by Clever Real Estate reveals the top 10 cities for real estate agents in 2024. Detroit, MI, leads at number one, followed by Buffalo, NY, and Kansas City, MO.  
  • California is the worst state for real estate agents in 2024, along with a number of popular Sunbelt metros, including Las Vegas, NV, and Austin, TX. 

Just as not all cities in the U.S. are ideal markets for first-time homebuyers or mom-and-pop real estate investors, some metros are more agent-friendly than most. 

If we take all the factors that make a city favorable to new real estate agents—including home price growth, competition, and the number of home sales per year—a few metros stand out as uniquely favorable to industry newbies, specifically those willing to do the work. 

Fortunately for us, Clever Real Estate did the work of studying 50 U.S. cities to identify the 10 best—and 10 worst—metros for real estate agents in 2024. And when it comes to the best, we’re looking at mid-sized metros rather than mega cities like NYC and San Francisco. 

Detroit, MI, is the number one city for real estate agents in 2024. Keep reading to find out why it rose to the top, as well as why California was ranked the worst state for agents. 

Meanwhile, seven of the top 15 cities for agents are in the Midwest. Read on for the highlights. 

Ranking the top 50 metros for real estate agents in 2024

To rank the 50 metros in their study, Clever Real Estate researchers weighted the following data points as indicated: 

  • 5x: Affordability, based on years of median agent salary needed to afford a typical home
  • 3x: Annual salary for real estate agents 
  • 3x: Number of agents per 100,000 residents 
  • 3x: Annual home sales per full-time agent 
  • 2x: Home value forecast, next 12 months 
  • 2x: Change in home values, last five years 
  • 1x: Days on market 
  • 1x: Listing agent commission rate (%)
  • 1x: Buyer’s agent commission rate (%) 
  • 1x: Listing agent commission on typical home ($) 
  • 1x: Buyer’s agent commission on typical home ($) 
  • 1x: Real estate license reciprocity
  • 1x: Hours needed to obtain a license 
  • 1x: Annual hours of continuing education to maintain license

The 10 best cities for real estate agents in 2024

  1. Detroit, MI (Listing agent commission: 2.96%; Median agent income: $63,910)
  2. Buffalo, NY (3.00%; $83,670)
  3. Kansas City, MO (2.89%; $59,430)
  4. Tampa, FL (2.82%; $76,150)
  5. Richmond, VA (2.72%; $60,340)
  6. Columbus, OH (3.08%; $41,460)
  7. Jacksonville, FL (2.82%; $49,670)
  8. Atlanta, GA (2.93%; $50,020)
  9. Pittsburgh, PA (2.81%; $50,790)
  10. Hartford, CT (2.97%; n/a)

#1: Detroit, MI 

What makes this city number one for real estate agents?

  • Sales per year: Full-time agents sold an average of 89.1 homes over the past 12 months—the highest number in Clever’s study and almost five times the amount in the median city (18). 
  • Home selling process: Realtors in the Motor City sold homes 19% faster than in the typical market
  • Days on market: 33 days—compared to 40.5 days in the average U.S. city
  • Competition: Detroit has only 15.6 full-time agents per 100,000 residents—a full 75% lower than the median market’s 63.5 Realtors per 100,000 residents. 
  • Bar to entry: Detroit also has the lowest agent training requirements of all the cities in Clever’s study.
  • Average buyer’s agent commission: 2.96% (statewide), which is nearly 11% more than the 2.67% average. 
  • Average listing agent commission: 2.96% versus the national average of 2.82%

#2: Buffalo, NY 

What puts this city in the top five for real estate agents?

  • Median income: $83,670—the second-highest of all 50 cities and 66% higher than the national median income of $50,345.
  • Sales per year: 48.6 home sales per full-time Realtor over the past 12 months—second-highest in the U.S. and more than twice the national median (18).
  • Competition: Buffalo has 18.1 real estate agents per 100,000 residents—the second-lowest number and less than one-third the national average of 63.5 agents per 100,000 residents. 
  • Years of median income needed to buy a home: Agents need 3.1 years of the median income for the area to afford an average property in Buffalo—less than half the national median of 7.7 years. 
  • Future home price growth: Buffalo has the second-best Zillow forecast over the next 12 months, with home values expected to grow by 1.4% compared to the median market’s decline of 0.6%. 

#3: Kansas City, MO

What puts this city in the top five for real estate agents?

  • Median income: $59,430—18% higher than the national average ($50,345). 
  • Competition: Kansas City has 53.4 agents per 100,000 residents—16% fewer than the median market’s 63.5. 
  • Years of income needed to buy a home: The median Kansas City home costs 5.1 years of a typical agent’s salary—33% lower than the median market’s 7.7 years. 
  • Days on market: Kansas City homes spend an average 34 days on market compared to the national average of 40.5. 
  • Home sales per year: Full-time agents sell a median 23 homes per year—27% more than the average city’s 18 per year. 
  • Bar to entry: The process of getting licensed as a real estate agent in Missouri is straightforward, with 72 hours of education to obtain a license and six hours of training a year to keep it—compared to the national average of 90 hours and nine, respectively. Missouri also offers full licensing reciprocity to agents moving in from other states. 

#4: Tampa, FL

What puts this city in the top five for real estate agents?

  • Median income: Full-time Tampa Realtors earn a median $76,150 per year—the fourth-highest of the 50 markets studied and 51% higher than the national (studywide) median ($50,345). 
  • Historic home price increases: Home values have climbed 71.2% since 2019—the biggest growth in the U.S. for that time period and significantly higher than the median city’s price growth of 46.7%. 
  • Future home price growth: According to Zillow’s forecast, home prices in Tampa are expected to grow by 1.4% over the next 12 months, compared to the median market’s 0.6% decline. 
  • Years of income needed to buy a home: Full-time Realtors need five years of the median income to buy a home in their market—the sixth-lowest in the study and 35% below the  median market’s 7.7 years. 
  • Bar to entry: Becoming a licensed real estate agent in Tampa requires 63 hours—30% lower than the 90-hour national median. And Tampa also offers partial license reciprocity to agents moving in from other states. 

#5: Richmond, VA

What puts this city in the top five for real estate agents?

  • Median income: Full-time agents in Richmond earn a median income of $60,340—about 20% higher than the national median ($50,345).
  • Home price increases: Home prices in Richmond have grown by 49.5% since 2019—6% more than the median market’s home price growth during the same period. 
  • Future home price growth: Zillow’s forecast expects home prices here to remain flat, compared to the median city’s decline of 0.6%. 
  • Years of income needed to buy a home: Agents living here need 6.1 years of the median agent’s income to afford a home in their market—1.6 fewer years than the median city’s 7.7 years. 
  • Bar to entry: Becoming a licensed agent in Richmond, VA, requires just 60 hours of coursework—the fourth-lowest amount in the study and one-third less than the median city’s 90 hours. Richmond also offers full real estate license reciprocity for agents moving in from other markets. 

#6: Columbus, OH

What puts this city in the top 10 for real estate agents?

  • Average commissions: The average listing agent commission in Ohio is 3.08%, which is the second highest in the study. Average buyer agent commission is 2.91%, which is third highest. Both commission rates are about 9% above the national median rate. 
  • Home price increases: Home prices have grown by 55% since 2019—18% more than the typical market’s 46.7%. 
  • Future home price growth: Zillow’s forecast for Columbus includes home price growth of 0.5%, which is more than 1% higher than the median city’s home price decline of 0.6%. 
  • Sales per year: Full-time Columbus agents sell a median of 23.2 properties per year—28% more than the national average of 18. 
  • Competition: With 45.8 agents per 100,000 residents, Columbus has 28% fewer than the median city’s 63.5 agents per 100,000 residents, putting agent competition in this city  at the 11th lowest of all the 50 markets studied. 
  • Days on market: Columbus homes spend just 31 days on the market—the shortest time in the study and 24% lower than the median city’s 40.5 days. 

#7: Jacksonville, FL

What puts this city in the top 10 for real estate agents?

  • Home price increase: Home prices have grown 58.6% since 2019—the seventh-highest gain of the 50 cities in Clever’s study. 
  • Sales per year: Full-time Jacksonville agents sold 24.6 homes over the past year—the 10th best of the 50 metros studied and over 36% higher than the national median. 
  • Years of income needed to buy a home: Agents need 7.3 years of the median agent income to buy a home here—a bit less than the median market’s 7.7 years.
  • Bar to entry: Getting licensed as an agent in Jacksonville requires just 63 hours of coursework—30% less than the studywide median of 90 hours. 

#8: Atlanta, GA

What puts this city in the top 10 for real estate agents?

  • Average commissions: Georgia-based buyer agents earn an average commission of 2.88%, which is 8% above the national median and the eighth-highest of the 50 metros analyzed. Listing agents make an average of 2.93%, which is 4% more than the studywide average. 
  • Home price increases: Home prices in Atlanta have grown 61.8% since 2019—the fifth highest of the 50 cities analyzed and 32% above the median city’s home price growth.
  • Future home price growth: Zillow’s forecast for the next 12 months includes 0.6% home price growth for Atlanta—the eighth highest of the 50 cities in the study and a full percentage point higher than the median city’s projected home price decline of 0.6%. 
  • Bar to entry: Becoming a licensed Georgia agent takes 75 hours of coursework—17% less than the median 90 hours. And Georgia offers full licensing reciprocity for agents relocating from other states. 

#9: Pittsburgh, PA

What puts this city in the top 10 for real estate agents?

  • Years of income needed to buy a home: Pittsburgh agents can buy a home in their market with 4.2 years of the median agent’s income, making it the third most affordable of all the cities analyzed and 45% below the 7.7 year median. 
  • Competition: Pittsburgh has 41.7 full-time agents per 100,000 residents, which is the seventh-lowest number of all 50 cities in the study. It’s also 34% less than the typical city’s 63.5 agents per 100,000 residents. 
  • Sales per year: Full-time agents here make 30.4 sales per year—well over the median city’s 18 sales per year. 
  • Bar to entry: Becoming a licensed Pittsburgh agent takes 75 hours of coursework, with seven additional hours per year to remain so. Both figures are well under the national medians of 90 hours plus nine per year. And Pennsylvania also offers partial licensing reciprocity for agents moving in from other states. 

#10: Hartford, CT

What puts this city in the top 10 for real estate agents?

  • Average commissions: Statewide listing agent commission rates average 2.97%, which is the 11th best of the 50 states analyzed. 
  • Home price increases: Home values in Hartford have grown 54.6% since 2019, which is 17% higher than the median city’s gains of 46.7%. 
  • Future home price growth: Zillow’s forecast for Hartford includes a 0.6% decline in home values over the next 12 months. That said, according to Clever’s report, Hartford is expected to buck that trend and grow at 0.7%, which is the seventh-highest rate of the 50 metros analyzed. 
  • Bar to entry: Would-be Realtors in Connecticut take 60 hours of coursework to obtain their license—the fourth lowest among the 50 metros studied and just two-thirds of the median city’s 90 hour requirement. 

Clever research puts the national average listing agent commission at 2.82% and the national median agent income at $50,345. 

The 10 worst cities for real estate agents in 2024:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Austin, TX
  3. San Jose, CA
  4. Dallas, TX
  5. Milwaukee, WI
  6. New Orleans, LA
  7. Las Vegas, NV
  8. Phoenix, AZ
  9. Los Angeles, CA
  10. Riverside, CA

California earned the dubious distinction of being named America’s worst state for real estate agents in 2024. But it’s got company with several fast-growing Sunbelt metros, including Las Vegas, NV, and Austin, TX. 

Realtors in these markets face a gauntlet of challenges, including: 

  • Oversupply of full-time agents
  • Low commission rates
  • Homes priced so high most full-time agents can’t afford to buy them

Read the full report for more information, including methodology and a table with metro-level stats for all 50 of the metros analyzed.