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Realtors: Lack Of Inventory Hindered Home Sales In 2021

David Krechevsky
Jul 12, 2022
National Association of Realtors (NAR)

Lack of supply & housing affordability cited as biggest hurdles in latest NAR survey.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • In its 2022 Member Profile survey, 57% of Realtors cited a lack of inventory as the leading reason limiting potential clients from completing a transaction.;
  • The typical NAR member had a higher sales volume — $2.6 million vs. $2.1 million — and more transactions (12 vs. 10) in 2021 compared to 2020, the survey found.

Amid a persistent housing supply crunch, 57% of Realtors cited a lack of inventory as the leading reason limiting potential clients from completing a transaction, a new survey of home sales says.

The National Association of Realtors’ 2022 Member Profile, an annual report analyzing members’ business activity and demographics from the prior year, also found that as housing demand surged last year resulting in 6.12 million existing homes sold – the most since 2006 – NAR’s membership increased to 1.56 million at the end of 2021, up from 1.48 million at the end of 2020.

“In the last year, Realtors continued to navigate a challenging housing market and cited the biggest factor holding back the housing market was tight inventory,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of demographics and behavioral insights. “As buyers relocated throughout the pandemic, housing affordability and lack of supply became a hurdle that agents and brokers found ways to overcome.”

The typical NAR member had a higher sales volume — $2.6 million vs. $2.1 million — and more transactions (12 vs. 10) in 2021 compared to 2020, the survey found.

The typical Realtor earned 16% of their business from previous clients and customers, a slight increase from 15% last year. The most experienced members — those with 16 or more years of experience — reported a greater share of repeat business from clients or referrals (a median of 44% in 2021 vs. a median of 37% in 2020). Members with two years of experience or less reported no repeat business. 

Overall, Realtors earned a median of 20% of their business from referrals, a slight increase from 19% in 2020. Referrals were also more common among members with more experience, with a median of 31% for those with 16 or more years of experience compared to no referrals for those with two years of experience or less.

According to the survey, 77% of Realtors were white, down slightly from 78% last year. Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 11% of Realtors, followed by Black/African Americans at 8% and Asian/Pacific Islanders at 5%. When compared to more experienced members, new members tended to be more diverse. Among those who had two years or less of experience, 37% were racial minorities, up from 34% in 2020.

“The real estate industry attracted new entrants who were increasingly more racially diverse and more likely to be women,” Lautz said. “The dynamic nature of real estate encourages varying business models, firm relationships, and business activity.”

The survey found that 66% of Realtors were women, a minor increase from 65% last year. The median age was 56, up from 54 the previous year. Approximately two out of five members — 41% — were over 60, and 4% were under the age of 30.

More than nine in 10 members – 93% – had some post-secondary education, with 31% completing a bachelor’s degree, 6% having some graduate school education, and 14% completing a graduate degree.

In March 2022, NAR emailed a 97-question survey to a random sample of 176,494 Realtors. A total of 9,220 responses were received. The survey had an adjusted response rate of 5.2%. The confidence interval at a 95% level of confidence is +/- 1.02% based on a population of 1.5 million members, the NAR said. 

Survey responses were weighted to be representative of state-level NAR membership. Information about compensation, earnings, sales volume and number of transactions are characteristics of calendar year 2021, while all other data are representative of member characteristics in early 2022., the NAR said.

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