Job Outlook

Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Total, all occupations


Real estate sales agents


Real estate brokers and sales agents


Real estate brokers


Other sales and related workers


Note: All Occupations includes all occupations in the U.S. Economy.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Employment of real estate brokers and sales agents is projected to grow 6 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

There will be a continued demand for real estate brokers and sales agents, since people turn to them when looking for a larger home, relocating for a new job, and for other reasons. Employment is projected to grow along with the real estate market.

The millennial generation will be entering the prime working-age and household-forming age cohort over the next decade. This generation has delayed home ownership because of financial and personal considerations. Therefore, their entry into the housing market should increase demand for real estate agents and brokers.

An improving job market and rising consumer spending also will drive demand for brokers and agents to handle commercial, retail, and industrial real estate transactions.

However, tighter credit regulations and increasing real estate prices may cause some people to continue renting as opposed to entering the housing market.

The real estate market is highly 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 should grow to accommodate people looking to buy homes and businesses looking to expand office or retail space. Alternatively, during periods of declining economic activity or rising interest rates, the amount of work for brokers and agents will slow and employment may decline.

Job Prospects

It is relatively easy to enter the occupation, but getting listings as a broker or an agent depends on the real estate market and overall economic conditions. As the economy expands and more people look to buy homes, job competition may increase as more people obtain their real estate license. In contrast, although the real estate market declines in an economic downturn, there also tend to be fewer active and licensed real estate agents.

New 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.

Occupational TitleSOC CodeEmployment, 2016Projected Employment, 2026Change, 2016-26 
Real estate brokers and sales agents41-9020444,100469,000624,900 
Real estate brokers41-902195,300100,00054,700 
Real estate sales agents41-9022348,800369,000620,200 

Real Estate Occupational Facts

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents,on the Internet at (visited October 01, 2018).

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