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Are There Too Many Real Estate Agents in the US?

Chart Courtesy of

Are there too many real estate agents?

Before we jump to conclusions let’s look at the data.

It’s true, there are currently 600k more RE agents in the US than Single Family homes for sale. That's about 2 ½ Realtors for every available home on the market (Source:

What’s more, is that the number of real estate agents has roughly doubled since the 1980s, while the population of the US over the same period, has only gone up about 50%.

So yes, per capita, there are about twice as many real estate agents now as there were in the 80s.

But there is more to this story.

# of units built/year (thousand units)

If you look at the number of new homes being built in the US, despite climbing steadily since 2008, its been on a flat/ slightly downward trend over the last 40 years.

We see it - there are a lot of real estate agents out there, and a lot of BAD ones at that.

But, is the problem REALLY that there are too many realtors? Or is it that there are not enough houses being built?

So you can blame the RE agents all you want- and yes maybe the barrier to entry is too low.

However, like most issues in life, it’s more complicated than a simple issue, and agents are just the scapegoats.