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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24 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.]

16 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.

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

[Post removed.]

5 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.

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

[Post removed.]

5 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 ...

15 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.]

2 people like this
Posted by Michael Kaprielian
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jun 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm

I'm sorry to hear about the bad experiences that many have had regarding real estate broker/agents. Recently I had a conversation with a client and confessed that even I am getting tired of apologizing for many in my profession. Being in the service industry for close to 50 years and as a realtor for more than a decade, agents sometimes forget that it's the client that comes first and not the commission.

4 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 28, 2019 at 5:25 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

I don't get the comment about killing affordable senior housing. If you go on the internet and put in senior housing there is a lot of senior housing available. There are the obvious locations in the city - Webster House, Channing House, Stevenson House, Sunrise, and a wealth of other smaller senior housing locations. Note that Senior Housing is a specific classification of business with specific legal, insurance, and tax requirements.

If you are referring to Cubberely note that the land is owned by PAUSD and any construction on a school site would require a bond issue that would pass on to every property owner in the city. By definition that site should not be open to any senior housing or any housing. It will be a high school again when the population increases.

Senior housing needs to be built by an accredited company on a commercial site who is funding the project through normal business funding practices. There are a lot of complexities involved in that business classification. Religious organizations who have a subset of senior housing are typically very large organizations with carved out business designations with their corporate structure.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jun 29, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Note that ANY construction or building effort requires upfront a definition of what type of funding is required and who is going to provide that funding. People do not get to just think up ideas, put ideas on paper, then assume that something is going to happen. Nothing is going to happen until all of the requirements for the effort have been fully approved for appropriate funding and fulfil the requirements for the city classification of the effort. That is not the realtors job, it is the cities job, but the realtor has to understand up front what is going to pass muster or not. That is what they get paid for.

5 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 1, 2019 at 10:53 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

There is a lengthy article in the papers today regarding the Google projection of housing. The article discusses all of the complexities of the different types of funding. It is very complicated.

Then over the weekend there was an article about the Oakland City and school district which has blown the funding they had for school upgrades and a bad contractor. Alum Rock - Santa Clara County had a bad contractor - Tetra Tech which catered to school districts building on bond funds. They are being sued by a number of school districts.

It appears that across the state construction projects built on bond funds are targeted by unscrupulous funding schemes and contractors.

5 people like this
Posted by Curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 1, 2019 at 11:15 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."

How many of us remember the successful smear campaign against councilmember Nancy Lytle that the pro-development interests orchestrated in 2003? Lytle was a true advocate for the community who they could not tolerate on the council. They're now coming after Lydia Kou.

2 people like this
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 2, 2019 at 5:33 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

There are a couple of people on the council that should be worried - and Lydia is not one of them. As a realtor she understands what is legally possible. That is opposed to some on the council who are making it all up. Absolutely no idea of what is - or is not legal or financially possible. No - politics is not the answer to every question. Start with established law and common sense. I think San Jose has lost it and Mountain View is nearing that point.
PACC - don't plan on joining the cities that have sold their souls and are losing their identity. This is not a competition to be a "leader".

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 6:46 am

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

In the papers today the city of San Jose is running into trouble on the financing of it's proposed low income housing. The idea of using re-purposed shipping crates is now not going to happen because no organization is going to finance that approach. It is back to the drawing board for buildings - multi-story with retail on the first floor. So "leaders" make promises - the governor, the mayors, etc. that sound good and get you elected but cannot be carried out because the builders are not going to get the financing that is required to break ground.

Gov is suing Huntington Beach because they have not stepped up to build more housing and is threatening other cities with law suits and reduced funding if they do not comply. This sounds like every threat that the federal government has made that you all decry. And the governor is busy doing exactly that - threatening cities. And cities are running into trouble getting financing for low income housing. So why did San Jose mayor make claims on the number of low income housing that he would add when there is no financing to make it happen.

There is a total disconnect between what the governor is telling people to get elected, what the mayors are telling people to get elected, and what is actually possible. And what is possible does not emerge until a lot of money has been paid to "consultants" to think up ideas which are not doable. But the government does want you to get flood and earthquake insurance. Maybe the government should tell the large business organizations to start building their "outposts" in other areas - like central valley, or Nevada. Mega-business does exactly that.

Like this comment
Posted by Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Jul 3, 2019 at 5:18 pm

Resident 1-Adobe Meadows is a registered user.

Our governor is suing Huntington Beach for not adding more housing - low income. But San Jose cannot get funding for low income housing. Does that say it all? Total incompetence - hatch up an idea then strong arm it with no way that cities can provide the housing without the state's help. There is not an over-supply of corporations that can provide housing of any type. And there is not a supply of money to make it possible. Just a bunch of publicity at everyone's expense. There is not a supply of builders who can afford to build apartments with no profit motive. We ae not a slave state but we are getting there.

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