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Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents Job Outlook

Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is expected to grow 11 percent from 2010 to 2020, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Employment of real estate brokers and agents will grow as the real estate market rebounds from the recent economic recession. Both financial and non-financial factors spur demand for home sales. Real estate is perceived as a good long-term investment, and many people want to own their homes.

Population growth and mobility also will continue to stimulate the need for new brokers and agents. In addition to first-time home buyers, people will need brokers and agents when looking for a larger home, relocating for a new job, and other reasons.

The real estate market is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy, and employment of real estate brokers and agents will vary accordingly. In periods of economic growth or stability, employment will grow to accommodate families and individuals looking to buy homes. Alternatively, the amount of work for brokers and agents will slow and employment may decline during periods of declining economic activity or rising interest rates.

Job Prospects

Although the real estate market depends on economic conditions, it is relatively easy to enter the occupation. In times of economic growth, brokers and sales agents will have good job opportunities. In an economic downturn, there tend to be fewer job opportunities, and brokers and agents often have a lower income due to fewer sales and purchases.

Beginning agents will face competition from well-established, more experienced brokers and agents. Because income is dependent on sales, beginners may have trouble sustaining themselves in the occupation during periods of slower activity.

Brokers should fare better because they generally have a large client base from years of experience as sales agents. Those with strong sales ability and extensive social and business connections in their communities should have the best chances for success.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition