Real Estate

There's another industry on the rise, and it's not tech

Palo Alto among top places to be a real estate agent

Tech isn't the only lucrative sector in high demand along the Midpeninsula. There's another industry on the rise — and it doesn't require a college degree.

According to a new survey by WalletHub, the Bay Area is the hottest place to be a real estate agent.

The metro areas of San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland all ranked among the top five major U.S. markets with the highest demand for housing and the highest salaries for agents, according to the personal finance company's survey that compared more than 170 cities nationwide to determine the best markets for realtors.

In Palo Alto, conditions are even better: Luxury homes remain on the market for the fewest days out of any region in the nation. On average, high-end homes sell within 86 days compared to San Francisco (the second-most robust luxury market) where homes take about 103 days to sell on average, according to the U.S. Luxury Homes Index from New York-based real estate auction firm Concierge Auctions.

Salaries also are higher in Palo Alto: Agents earn an average salary of $96,253 per year, or about 14% more than the national average and 8% more than agents in neighboring San Jose and 2% more than those in San Francisco, according to the online job search engine Indeed. And based on the city's median home value of $2.8 million, agents who take even an ultra-competitive 4% commission rate can expect to receive approximately $56,000 per sale and twice that if they represent both the buyer and seller.

"Real estate is pretty much a booming industry hereabouts, as any realtor, investor, home owner, home shopper, taxicab driver or beautician can attest," said Marc Gottlieb, a longtime real estate instructor at the College of San Mateo, which offers certificate and associate degree programs in real estate and has been in operation for more than 50 years.

Gottlieb described enrollment in the college's real estate program as very robust and rapid.

"It is regrettably quite commonplace for a good number of folks to be unable to squeeze into these very popular classes," he said.

Enrollment for the summer session, which starts on June 10, already had 80 signups within the first two weeks of registration in May, he said.

The area's high home prices can provide agents with incomes comparable to tech workers, which probably explains the current uptick in public interest in obtaining a real estate license, he added.

Even with the recent acquisition and consolidation of some top-selling Bay Area brokerage firms in recent months, which has created mega-brokerage firms with as many as 3,000 agents, demand for sales agents hasn't decreased, Gottlieb said.

"It only means there are a few more larger-sized brokerage firms," he said. "Some firms (are) offering — and even advertising — to train new sales agents just to get them in the door."

A quick search on the job-search website Glassdoor returned 139 job listings for real estate agents in the greater Palo Alto area last week. These included postings for entry level to senior positions at many major agencies in the area. In comparison, San Francisco had 107 listings.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics attributed the demand for more real estate agents and brokers to the strong job market, as well as a growing number of millenials entering the housing market, according to its Occupational Outlook Handbook that projects employment in the real estate industry to increase by 6% between 2016 and 2026.

"The millennial generation will be entering the prime working-age and household-forming age cohort over the next decade. This generation has delayed home ownership because of financial and personal considerations. Therefore, their entry into the housing market should increase demand for real estate agents and brokers," the report states.

Gottlieb said he doesn't see any shortage of opportunities for a new agent in the local market.

"Most clients still want and expect personal service with a local agent," he said.


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18 people like this
Posted by Deny Crisis, Kill Housing, Profit
a resident of University South
on Jun 8, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Lydia Kou says there is no housing crisis and people just need a superb realtor, like her, if they need a place to live. She fights more homes at every turn: campaigning to kill affordable senior housing, voting against zoning changes that enabled affordable housing.

Why aren’t more people up in arms that the most anti-housing councilmember is raking it in, making huge commissions on $8 million homes in community where housing is scarce and prices are high? Immoral abuse of power.

10 people like this
Posted by Growth Industry?
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jun 8, 2019 at 1:46 pm

[Post removed.]

8 people like this
Posted by Another Giveaway
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2019 at 2:30 pm

The real-estates industry has spent the last 40 years methodically capturing local government at every level from your local architectural review board to the mayor, and now has control that extends all the way to the governor of the state.

Governmental capture has a wide range of benefits from local redevelopment grants to industry friendly immigration policies. Nothing happens in the California legislature unless it in some way, large or small, ultimately benefits the California real-estate industry.

2 people like this
Posted by 8 Million
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jun 8, 2019 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed.]

2 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 8, 2019 at 7:28 pm

The Bay Area is also a hot place to be an Uber or Lyft driver.
Also doesn't require a college degree.

2 people like this
Posted by Jiu Jiang
a resident of another community
on Jun 8, 2019 at 8:08 pm

[Post removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by get a grip
a resident of Midtown
on Jun 9, 2019 at 9:35 pm

I don't know how everyone missed it, but the Bay Area is also a hot place to be a software engineer.
Oh, and also a hardware engineer.
And a C level executive.
and and and ...

8 people like this
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jun 9, 2019 at 10:17 pm

Please put Jiu Jiang's post back up.
Her comments are true.
They exact reason why I am selling my home to an established American family that is employed locally, and looking for a home in my neighborhood.
I won't even consider working with a broker, since after decades of seeing my neighbors get lied to - only to have their home sold to a flipper and left empty.

[Portion removed.]

3 people like this
Posted by uber or lyft driver
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jun 9, 2019 at 10:54 pm

[Post removed.]

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