Slump’s toll: Calif. real estate agents down 16%

Via the OC Register
April 25, 2011

The ranks of real estate agents have thinned in the face of the worst housing collapse since the Great Depression, dropping 16% since the subprime mortgage meltdown of 2007 caused home sales and prices to plummet, state Real Estate Department statistics show.

California had 462,809 real estate license holders as of January, the most recent data compiled. That’s the lowest number in more than 5 ½ years.

The data show also that the number of real estate licenses in California:

* Had climbed steadily for a nine-year period from January 1999 to November 2007, rising month in, month out in all but four months in that time.
* Peaked at 549,244 in November 2007.
* Dropped 16%, or 86,435, licenses, since the peak.
* Has dropped month in, month out for 36 straight months – and has fallen in 37 of the past 38 months. (In one of those 38 months, the number was unchanged.)
* Is now at the same level as in September 2005, just over 5 ½ years ago — and one month before the housing slump began.
* Is now equivalent to 84 agents for every man, woman and child, thanks to decreased agent ranks and population growth.

The change in the number of license holders also is reflected in the ranks of practicing Realtors. Membership in the California Association of Realtors, for example, has gone from around 196,000 in 2007 to around 160,000 now, an 18.4% decrease.