NAR Reports Lowest U.S. Housing Inventory Levels Since 1999


According to the newly released 2023 Member Profile from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the year 2022 witnessed a significant housing supply shortage, with 32% of Realtors identifying inventory scarcity as the primary obstacle hindering potential clients from making purchases.

This annual report delves into members’ business activities and demographics for the preceding year. The housing inventory plummeted to its lowest point since 1999, driven by a surge in homebuyers eager to secure historically low-interest rates.

Jessica Lautz, NAR’s Deputy Chief Economist and Vice President of Research, pointed out, “The report’s findings unequivocally demonstrate that the lack of housing inventory is impeding Realtors in their quest to find homes for buyers. Housing inventory and affordability persist as the leading challenges affecting potential clients in the real estate market.”

Characteristics of Realtors’ Business

  • Nearly two-thirds of Realtors, specifically 64%, possess sales agent licenses, while 20% hold broker licenses, and 18% have broker associate licenses.
  • A majority, or 70%, of members specialize in residential brokerage.
  • The average real estate experience of members increased to 11 years, up from eight years in 2021. In 2022, those with two years of experience or less decreased to 17% from 25% in the previous year, while those with 16 years or more of experience rose to 42% from 39% in 2021.
  • Approximately 76% of members expressed certainty about remaining in the real estate industry for at least the next two years.

Realtors’ Business Activity

  • In 2022, the typical NAR member achieved a higher sales volume ($3.4 million versus $2.6 million in 2021) while maintaining the same number of transactions (12).
  • Realtors derived 27% of their business from previous clients and customers, up from 16% the previous year. Members with 16 or more years of experience reported a median of 43% repeat business from clients or referrals in 2022, compared to a median of 44% in 2021.
  • Referrals played a more substantial role in Realtors’ businesses overall, accounting for a median of 24%, up from 20% in 2021.

Income and Expenses of Realtors

  • The median gross income for Realtors increased to $56,400 in 2022, compared to $54,300 in 2021.
  • Realtors with 16 years or more of experience reported a median gross income of $80,700, down from $85,000 in 2021, while those with two years or less of experience had a median gross income of $9,600, up from $8,800 in 2021.
  • Total expenses rose to $8,210 in 2022, reflecting the impact of higher inflation compared to $6,250 in 2021.

Realtors’ Office and Firm Affiliation

  • A majority, or 55%, of Realtors worked with independent companies, and 89% operated as independent contractors, figures similar to those in 2021.
  • Forty-three percent of members worked at firms with one office, while 24% worked at firms with two to four offices.
  • The median tenure of Realtors with their current firm increased to six years, up from five years in 2021.
  • A noteworthy trend was the increase in the percentage of members working for firms that had undergone recent acquisitions or mergers, rising to 26% from 8% in 2021.

Realtors and Technology

  • The vast majority of Realtors, 95%, used smartphones with wireless email and internet capabilities daily, and 90% used laptop or desktop computers.
  • Key daily smartphone functions included email (93%), GPS apps (48%), and social media (46%).
  • Text messaging (94%) remained the primary mode of communication with clients, followed by phone calls (92%) and email (90%).
  • Sixty-six percent of members had their own websites.
  • Seven percent of Realtors utilized drones in their business, and 43% hired professional drone operators.
  • Four percent used 3D/virtual tour technology daily, while 1% employed virtual staging technology regularly.

Demographics of Realtors

  • In 2022, 81% of Realtors were White, up from 77% in 2021, while Hispanics/Latinos accounted for 10%, and Black/African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders each represented 5%.
  • Newer Realtors, with two years or less of experience, demonstrated more diversity, with 41% being racial minorities in 2022, up from 37% the previous year.
  • The proportion of female Realtors decreased slightly to 62% in 2022, compared to 66% in 2021.
  • The median age of Realtors rose to 60 from 56 in the previous year, with 52% of members being over 60 and 1% under 30.
  • Education levels among Realtors exceeded those of the general population, with 91% having some post-secondary education and 31% holding bachelor’s degrees as their highest educational attainment.
  • Sixty-six percent of members reported engaging in community volunteering, with the highest participation observed among members aged 40 to 49.
Jason Howard
Jason Howard
Jason Howard is a licensed real estate agent with over a decade of experience helping individuals and families find their perfect homes. His blog posts break down the latest data, offering valuable insights for both buyers and sellers. Stay ahead of the real estate curve with Jason's expert analysis.

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