Real estate brokers see fewer deals with falling inventory

With real estate prices so high and many people out of work, the number of people getting their real estate licenses has skyrocketed. But if there are no homes for sale, what can a new real estate agent do to make money?

The National Association of Realtors says its membership currently exceeds the number of homes for sale. Jessica Lautz, vice president of research, said the way real estate agents are traditionally paid makes it difficult for everyone, especially newcomers to the industry.

“The majority of members work on a commission structure,” Lautz said. “So having that inventory is really essential. And that is lacking in this environment right now.

There just aren’t enough homes right now to keep up with demand – just over a million units across the country. Lautz said that was down 30% from last year, so there were fewer transaction opportunities for agents on both the buy and sell side.

But Danielle Hale, chief economist at Realtor.com, said when people scoop up a limited number of homes right away, it’s actually better than the alternative.

“If you have a lot of inventory just sitting there and buyers aren’t interested in buying it, that actually wouldn’t be a good thing for real estate agents,” Hale said.

She said when that happens, there are plenty of homes available, just limited demand, so real estate agents end up with a lot of inventory that they can’t sell.

Kristan F. Talley