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More people flock to real estate jobs as housing market booms

As Idaho’s real estate market booms, the ranks of real estate agents in the Gem State continues to grow right along with it.

In November, the Idaho Real Estate Commission reported a total of 11,886 licensed real estate brokers and salespeople throughout the state, up from 7,694 in June 2015.

[Local home prices are rising fast. Median income is not]

The data sheets released to BoiseDev by the Idaho Real Estate Commission did not break down the number of licenses geographically. But, advocacy organization Boise Regional Realtors saw a strong increase in membership in recent years as demand in Treasure Valley’s market increases. In October 2019, BRR included 5,066 members and now the organization counts 5,426 in its ranks.

This increase in the real estate industry comes as home prices in the Treasure Valley and beyond continue to climb and Idaho catches the attention of out-of-state investors and those looking to move here. Idaho’s median home price was $187,000 in June 2015 and has since climbed to $327,000, according to Zillow.com.

More than just HGTV

Ada County Home Sales
Photo: Don Day/BoiseDev

In Ada County, prices have been breaking records for months with a median sales price beyond $400,000 and supply is at an all time low. Cassie Zimmerman, spokesperson with Boise Regional Realtors, said the field gets lots of interest as markets get hotter, but there’s much more to being a real estate agent than doing home tours.

“I think a lot of people watch HGTV and see how (real estate agents) show houses and that’s what they do and it looks like fun,” she said. “I don’t think anybody really thinks of that, but you have to remember there’s the marketing side and you’re running your own business. Your accounting, your marketing, your taxes. All of that is part of being an agent.”

And it’s not a guaranteed way to get rich quick either. According to the National Association of Realtors, realtors with less than two years of experience had a median gross income of $8,900. This compared to a median gross income of $86,500 for realtors with 16 years of experience or more. 

[Ada Co. home prices dip slightly – demand remains strong]

Nick Staub, 25, is one of those new real estate agents who jumped into the industry a little under three years ago. He said the booming market drew him to the job, as well as helping people after a stint working in sales at a home builder. Staub also hoped for a job where he didn’t have to sit behind a desk all day.

“I saw from the outside real estate agents you could tell were the ones who were really good at negotiating and worked hard for their clients and I wanted to be one of those people,” he said. “It’s a constant learning atmosphere. We’re always pushing to learn more and do more for our clients.”

More sales teams to support a growing industry

Supply of homes for sale at the end of each month continue to dip in Boise as demand continues to grow, leaving new agents scrambling to land early sales and make their mark on the industry. Staub credited his strong start in the industry to landing a place at Keller Williams Boise Realty, which he said provides a lot of support in his sales.

Boise Regional Realtors CEO Breanna Vanstrom said the growth of sales teams backing up real estate agents makes it easier for those just starting out to get their foot in the door and establish themselves.

“The traditional idea of a real estate agent is someone who is a solo agent and working on their own, but we’ve seen quite a lot of people taking on these team models so they’re not solely responsible for all of their business and they’re allowed to share business,” she said, which is a trend in the industry in the past four or five years. “As we see business picking up, even with more members it allows more people staying in real estate than otherwise.”

To help new real estate agents, Boise Regional Realtors has resources for newcomers to the field and information to help prospective agents decide if it’s the right choice and dispel some of the myths. Although the Boise market is tougher than ever before, Vanstrom said sales numbers continue to climb and homes are flying off the market, which shows real estate agents are still getting the job done.

“One of the things we are continuing to see is limited inventory compared to demand, but we’re also seeing closed sales increasing,” Vanstrom said. It shows you that realtors are connecting with their clients and helping them find additional opportunities or connecting to new people and building their client list.”

Margaret Carmel - BoiseDev senior reporter
Margaret Carmel is a BoiseDev reporter focused on the City of Boise, housing, homelessness and growth. Contact her at [email protected] or by phone at (757)705-8066.

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