October 02, 2006

Realtor Bubble

Notice how the chart treads the 800,000 membership line for over a decade and then all of a sudden in 2002 there is a sharp increase to 1.4 million. If you go to www.salary.com, you’ll find that most agents only make about $30,000 per year. The top 5 percent of agents rake in the six-figure incomes but many agents chase the illusive “gold rush” only to find a sales job in a declining market.

The timing is bad for many that are jumping on the bandwagon lately. As was the case with technology, many made enormous amounts of money in the 90s decade. Yet like a drip from a leaky ceiling, the drops falling to the floor only indicate a larger problem. The pent up demand will only increase – by looking at this graph, it may be the case that 2007 will be another year of increasing demand for NAR membership. Why? Well what do you think the lay public thinks when they see for sale signs all over the place and many sellers blasting the media to sell a product. If anything, it will give the perception that real estate is still a hot deal.

Many on this board are immune to this logic since we swim in housing forums and blogs and won’t be surprised when the wave hits; but the common Dick and Jane will get hit and have their shorts knocked off like the adolescents taking their first swim in the ocean. The above graph shows the national hype and I find no better word than “obsession” regarding real estate. Why, for over 15 years does membership hover around 800,000 to a sudden doubling in only three years? Can it be a massive influx of advertising, media shows, and other propaganda?

Think of the media as taking Carleton Sheets, Robert Allen, and Donald Trump and instead of having them on 3AM with the other charlatans pumping colon cleaners we have given real estate the “ok” as a get rich quick for everyone. Yet, when everyone is rich I ask who is poor?


Larry Nusbaum said...

I just wanted to say two things:
1. This doesn't surprise me at all. I saw the same thing happen in 1986-1988 on Wall St when I was a broker at Lehman Brothers in SF.
2. A large 5 of newly licensed "agents" did so for one primary reason: save money on their own deals. There is no way to judge how many they comprise, however.

Kevin said...


Graphs are missing?

Also speaking of "R"ealtors, today at lunch I pulled up to the bank of america and I saw this so-cal looking girl get out of her 2006 Audi A6. She didn't look but 22 years old so I was a little suprised she was driving an A6. I looked at the license plate and it said, "Realtor, Long & Foster" around the license plate frame. I thought to myself this girl will wish she had saved some of her money because she will probably be unemployed soon. So I go into the bank and to my surprise that Realtor girl was walking around behind the counter and pulled up a chair at the a station and said "next". I about crapped myself in laughter. I guess the Realtor thing already went bust and the only thing she knows how to do is get paid $8/hr as a bank teller. I bet its only a matter of time before the A6 meets a repoman.