New Florida realty licenses on rise after bottoming out
By Anne-Margaret Swary
After several years of steep declines, the number of new real estate licenses issued by the state has leveled off.
New real estate licenses dropped from nearly 47,000 in 2005 to 10,435 in 2008, but rose slightly in 2009 and 2010 to around 11,800, according to the state Department of Business and Professional Regulation. More than 8,000 new licenses have been issued so far this year, on track to meet or exceed last year's number.
"Every one of our orientation classes is full," said Jack H. Levine, board chairman for the Miami Association of Realtors. He said he continues to see a mix of people interested in selling real estate both full and part time and across all demographic.
"We hit bottom in around August 2008 and we've been building since then," said association CEO Teresa King Kinney. "We've had 400 new members come in just in the last four months."
The association's last fiscal year saw about 2,800 new members. Not all new members are also new real estate agents, but the majority of new recruits are also new to the profession.
Ms. King Kinney credits a renewed confidence in the real estate market and strong sales activity for the improvement in the number of newly licensed agents.
The Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale also is noticing an increase in new licenses.
"I think our board statistic is a little over 100 new members in the month of August," said Fort Lauderdale association President Jim Heidisch. "In talking to the real estate schools, it seems like those people who are getting their licenses for the first time, their classes are fuller than they have been."
Mr. Heidisch, a broker with Campbell & Rosemurgy Real Estate, is noticing a trend of real estate professional from other states who have moved to South Florida and must get licensed here.
"They are not new to the business but they are new to the area," he said. "Part of that is because the lowering of the median price of homes has attracted people from other areas of the country to move here.… When they get here, they want to pick up their real estate from other parts of the country."
Other growing segments of new agents include people who are professionals in other endeavors who either have been displaced or are anticipating being displaced, he said.
All this doesn't mean, however, that agents aren't continuing to exit the field. The Department of Business and Professional Regulation's 2009-10 annual report showed a peak in the number of in inactive real estate licenses, meaning people who are licensed but not operating. The report for the 2010-11 fiscal year, which ended June 30, hasn't yet been completed.
Inactive licenses increased from 72,158 as stated in the 2008-09 annual report to 83,338 in 2009-10.
Ms. King Kinney said the reason for the increase was hard to pinpoint. It could be that some agents were unable to recover financially from the turbulence of 2008 or couldn't afford to wait for the market to improve and therefore pursued another careers, she said. The downturn also tended to weed out those who came onboard during the boom to make extra money on weekends or find good deals for family and friends.
To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e -Miami Today, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.