The entire real estate industry is retiring!

by Marilyn Wilson on March 5, 2011

I was reviewing the 2010 National Association of REALTORS Member Profile today and noticed a very alarming fact!  The real estate industry is retiring!

Not only has the average age of REALTORS moved from 51 to 54 year old.  While the number of REALTORS that are 60 or older has risen 32% in the past four years, the number of REALTORS that are 39 years old and younger has actually DECREASED 21%!   Not only is the industry concentrated on those that are nearly retirement age, we are LOSING those that are in their prime producing years!   Most MLSs and Associations are worried they are losing members because of the economy. I don’t hear too many talking about a disturbing demographic shift! What’s worse is that I would guess if we overlaid production volume by age, the transactions would be concentrated with older agents as well.

At this rate of decline, the industry could lose as many as 30% of its members and probably at least 30 to 40% of its production in the next 2 to 5 years!

What are we doing about it?

I don’t see a whole lot of proactive thinking about this issue.

What are brokers doing to attract younger people?   Are they changing their models to allow those that don’t have a nest egg of capital to invest in their first couple of years of the real estate industry?   Is anybody looking at a model similar to the financial services industry where they finance young agents until they get their feet under them?

Many associations have created YPN’s, but I hear from many they are working to some level, but are not effective at attracting new young people to the industry. Are we engaging in education that can truly help young agents figure out how to survive in a commission only business?   Have we helped those already in the business figure out how to tighten their belts while continuing to evolve to learn effective methods to reach out to younger home buyers?

I don’t think we’re taking the issue of an aging REALTOR population seriously enough!  What are we going to do differently in 2011 to aggressively recruit new younger people into the industry? What models have to change?  Do recruiting methods need to change? Do young agents really care about the amount of technology you offer them? To them technology is a given.  Do they care about larger splits or would they be more happy to get a salary and a smaller commission?

How do they know which brokerage brand to join?  To the outsider, every real estate brand looks just about the same – with maybe some rare exceptions like Redfin and Keller Williams.

We pay lip service to this topic at many conferences I attend, but I haven’t seen much true commitment or action against this VERY important problem. The trend is getting worse and yet nothing seems to be changing.

Time for a wake up call to brokers, Associations and recruiters. Time to get out of our box and apply some real action against attracting younger people to fuel the future of the business!

 

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