AUSTIN (KXAN) — Since 1957, there have been more real estate agent and brokers licenses issued to people in Austin than any other city in the state of Texas except for Houston, according to the Texas Real Estate Commission, or TREC, the state agency responsible for licensing and regulating the real estate industry.
In May 2021, Austin resident Caroline Smalley made the decision to leave the corporate world, where she worked in marketing, to start a new career as a realtor.
“The biggest appeal for me as a working mom is the flexibility, but it’s not as easy as a lot of people think,” Smalley said.
Smalley explained that the unpredictable nature of the market, working late nights and weekends, as well as having a career that is 100% commission based makes it a challenging but rewarding job.
According to TREC, Smalley is now one of more than 27,000 people in Austin who currently hold an active real estate agent or broker’s license, according to TREC.
Betty Wangler, another local Austin realtor who started her real estate career in 1982, said the profession has definitely changed.
“Everyone has a friend/neighbor or a friend of a friend that has a real estate license,” Wangler said.
KXAN reached out to TREC to learn more about whether the growth of Austin’s licensed realtor population has impacted the state agency responsible for licensing and regulating the industry.
TREC told KXAN it has seen a significant increase in license holders statewide over the last several years.
“The agency has increased the number of staff members processing applications and increased the number of transactions/services that can be initiated online as a direct result of the increased applications and license holder counts,” according to TREC.
Considering the volume of licensed agents and brokers in Austin, KXAN looked at the housing market to understand what a saturated market of agents and brokers could mean for current or future realtors competing for listings in the Austin market.
According to the Austin Board of Realtors monthly market report, there were 902 new residential listings for a total of 1,781 active listings in January 2023. That’s a ratio of seven realtors for every residential listing on the market in Austin.
“It’s a bit daunting how many realtors there are out there,” Smalley said.
KXAN looked at TREC licensing data and found that the number of realtors in Austin has not always been so “daunting.”
Among the more than 27,000 currently active licenses in Austin, more than 60% were issued in the last 10 years. That’s a 150% increase compared to active licenses issued from 2003 to 2013.
KXAN spoke to Kent Redding, the president-elect for the Austin Board of Realtors who has also been a licensed realtor for the last 20 years and has seen the realtor community grow.
“I don’t feel it’s disproportionate to the growth of the city or the growth of the transactions,” Redding said.
Redding further explained that many licensed realtors are part-time and the field of practice is broad when considering leasing, buying, selling and commercial real estate.
Regardless of the steady increase of licensed realtors in Austin, Smalley, Wangler and Redding all told KXAN that their focus is on their clients rather than the number of competitors in the industry.