Report: Grand Rapids real estate agent concentration lags behind nation

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Grand Rapids has the third-lowest concentration of real estate agents, according to a recent report.

A report from Inspection Support Network found there are 0.428 real estate agents for every 1,000 employees in the Grand Rapids area, compared to 1.105 for every 1,000 employees on a national level. Out of the 50 largest metropolitan areas, Grand Rapids has the third-lowest concentration of real estate agents compared to the national average.

Comparatively, the Seattle, Washington, metro area had the highest concentration with 3.082 agents per 1,000 employees. Compared to the national average, that equals a real estate agent concentration of 179%.

At the bottom of the list was Rochester, New York, with 0.298 agents per 1,000 employees, equaling a real estate agent concentration of -73% compared to the national average.

Summary of Grand Rapids metro data compared to national average

  • Concentration of real estate agents (compared to U.S. average): -61.0%
  • Number of real estate agents per thousand employees: 0.428 (1.105)
  • Median wage for real estate agents: $42,890 ($48,930)
  • Median home price: $243,990 ($262,604)

Like many other sectors of the economy, the real estate market was shaken in 2020 due to the effects of COVID-19. Shutdowns and social distancing measures slowed down real estate transactions in the spring, bringing home sales down to their lowest levels since 2007. As time has gone on, the real estate market has produced both challenges and opportunities for buyers, sellers and their real estate agents, making it difficult to predict trends moving forward.

On the buyers’ side, low mortgage interest rates continued to spur demand overall, and the new normal of work-from-home has made more workers reconsider the value they place on where they live, commute times and home amenities.

Meanwhile, some households have lost jobs and income due to the economic repercussions of the pandemic, while others are in a position to enter the market due to decreased spending and increased savings this year.

For sellers, health concerns and economic uncertainty have kept many homes off the market, leading to record low inventory, but this constrained supply is driving up home prices to record levels for those who do decide to sell.

Methodology

The employment data in the analysis is from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2019 Occupational Employment Survey, which covers wage and salary workers in nonfarm establishments. Home price data is from the Zillow Home Value Index.

To identify the locations with the highest concentrations of real estate agents, researchers at Inspection Support Network calculated the number of real estate agents per thousand employees.

The results were then expressed as a percentage difference from the national concentration of real estate agents. Researchers also included the median annual wage for real estate sales agents and the median home price for each location.

Only metros with at least 100,000 residents and available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics were included in the analysis. Additionally, metros were grouped based on population: small (100,000-349,999), midsize (350,000-999,999) and large (1,000,000 or more).

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