AgentAgents/BrokersReal Estate

Agent income rose in 2022, even as sales stagnated

NAR members reported a median sales volume of $3.4 million in 2022, up from $2.6 million in 2021

As existing home sales dropped 17% year over year in 2022 to 5.03 million homes, the median sales volume of National Association of Realtors’ members rose to $3.4 million, up from $2.6 million in 2021, according to NAR’s 2023 Member Profile, published Tuesday.

The Member Profile is based off a 98-question survey sent to a random sample of 146,624 NAR members in March 2023. The trade organization said it received 6,902 responses.

As would be expected, median sales volume tended to rise with experience level, with respondents who had two or fewer years of experience reporting a sales volume of $1.7 million, and those with six to 15 years of experience reporting $3.9 million in sales volume.

The one exception was agents with 16 or more years of experience reporting a median sales volume of $3.4 million.

Despite the increase in sales volume, respondents still reported a median of 12 transactions in 2022, unchanged from a year prior. The largest share of respondents (23%) reported between six and 10 transaction sides, while the second largest share (22%) reported between 21 and 50 sides.

With this rise in sales volume, NAR members reported an increase in their median gross income from $54,300 in 2021 to $56,400 in 2022. According to the report, agents with two or fewer years of experience reported their income rose from $8,800 in 2021 to $9,600 in 2022, while agents with 16 or more years of experience reported that their income fell from $85,000 a year ago to $80,700 in 2022.

Survey respondents who reported the highest median income were managers who also sold properties ($106,400) and broker-owners who sold properties ($105,900).

In the past, some brokerages used sign-on bonuses to entice agents, but in 2022, 96% of respondents reported that they did not receive a sign-on bonus.

As their income rose, NAR members also saw their expenses rise, which the study attributed at least partially to inflation. In 2021, survey respondents reported spending $6,250 a year on expenses, compared to $8,210 in 2022.

Major expenses that were reported included the business use of a vehicle (median of $1,710), administrative expenses (median of $860), marketing of services (median of $820), professional development (median of $730), annual dues and fees (median of $690), technology (median of $660), professional services (median of $460), marketing of listings (median of $450), business travel (median of $280), maintaining a website (median of $90) and social media advertising (median of $40).

Of all the agents surveyed, 42% reported they were compensated with a fixed commission split under 100%, while 19% were on graduated commission splits that increased with production, 15% were on a capped commission split that rose to 100% after a pre-determined threshold, 14% were on a 100% commission split, and 2% were salaried.

Other agents reported compensation plans that included a salary plus a share of the profits or a production bonus, a commission plus a share of company profits or just a share of the company profits.

The more experienced an agent was, the more likely they were to have a 100% commission. However, across almost all experience levels, the fixed commission split was the most common compensation structure, with agents who have two or fewer years of experience as the exception.