Chicago’s agent count jumps as home sales rise

Covid-related layoffs and a surging resi market spur spike in new brokers

Chicago /
Feb.February 09, 2021 10:30 AM
(iStock, Wikipedia Commons/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

(iStock, Wikipedia Commons/Illustration by Alexis Manrodt for The Real Deal)

The number of newly licensed Chicago residential brokers has been on the rise, fueled by a hot Chicago housing market and Covid-related layoffs.

The Chicago Association of Realtors reported a 40 percent jump in new member compared to 2019 numbers, according to the Chicago Tribune. The organization also reported that inquiries in its pre-license classes spiked 65 percent from July through December, compared to the same period in 2019. CAR represents 14,500 members statewide.

New brokers included residents laid off from the pandemic, like Lauren Schwartz, who in April lost her job booking hotel reservations, the Tribune reported. She earned her broker license last fall and joined a relative’s real estate group at Dream Town Realty, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Realtors reported a far smaller rise in new brokers statewide, about 1.5 percent, excluding leasing agents. That was also under the 4 percent nationwide increase in agents, the National Association of Realtors reported.

The Chicago area residential market came to a grinding halt in the spring when nonessential business activity was suspended. But it picked up as restrictions eased then took off. Suburban home sales skyrocketed — as buyers sought more room and privacy. And overall, city home sales also increased, although the luxury market did not fare as well.

As of December, there were enough homes on the Chicago market to sustain just 1.8 months worth of sales, the lowest inventory since January 2008. Sales took off beginning in August, when 13,360 homes sold across nine counties, representing nearly 20 percent year-over-year increase. In Chicago alone that month, 2,813 homes sold, up 8.2 percent from 2019.

Chicago-based @properties, which has been in expansion mode nationally,  added almost 500 residential agents, with about a third of those having just received their licenses.

But co-CEO Thad Wong issued a word of caution to those looking for some quick income. “Just because there are more homes being sold, it doesn’t create more opportunities for more people,” he told the publication. “It’s more opportunity for those that have the skill set to be successful, but it will not be easier because of a robust market.” [Tribune] — Alexi Friedman


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