New Real Estate Licenses Rebound after Major Dip

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It’s been covered in detail how COVID has affected different housing markets, with some markets like California seeing extremely low inventory and a spike in home prices.

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But how has the pandemic affected new real estate agents?

We analyzed official state data on licenses granted to get a better understanding of how the pandemic affected newly issued licenses. 

Because real estate licensing is handled at the state level and licensing data, we studied data from the three biggest states – California, Florida, and Texas (about 36% of the US licensees), to come up with a representative sample of the US.

Tumultuous start

The year started off like most others, with new licenses flat vs. prior years. However, things started to slow down in March as the virus spread, and people began to panic.

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At the beginning of April, the US hit what, at the time, was an all-time high of COVID cases, at 20,000 reported cases. As people were learning what to do, real estate schools shut down temporarily, and states and local municipalities issued stay at home orders at an increasing rate. There was a lot of uncertainty on the “new normal”.

New listings dropped by 44%. And of course, some of the closures affected many State Real Estate Commissions, which slowed down the ability for new agents to get licenses issued.

Because of this, new licenses crawled to a halt in April. Many states and local municipalities issued stay at home orders. In California, new licenses issued dropped by 59%. In Texas, they dropped by a staggering 94%. And in Florida, things came to a near standstill, slowing down by more than 97% vs. the prior year.  

 

Strong Recovery

real-estate-license-trend-2Thankfully, May, June, and July brought a strong recovery. And online schools like Real Estate Express, AceableAgent, and The CE Shop are busier than ever. 

Still, as of the end of July, licenses are still down by 29% in Florida and 12% for Texas. Data for California is unavailable as of publication date, but it’s expected to be down at a similar rate.  

Despite the stops and starts in licensing, there are still encouraging signs that Realtors are still confident.

The total number of new Realtors has grown year over year. According to the National Association of Realtors, there were 1,409,727 members at the end of this July, up 1.9% from the same time the prior year. And even just comparing July to June, the count has grown by almost 1% – a good sign that agents are getting their licenses.

 

 

Takeaway and Impact

“Real estate agents have an entrepreneurial spirit and are always ready for a challenge”, says Jasen Edwards, head of the Agent Advice Editorial Board. The initial scare of the pandemic naturally caught everyone off guard. But people are still getting their licenses, and times like these are rewarding for those who seek out opportunities in the market.”