The Realtor Demographics You Should Be Aware Of
The real estate industry is no doubt a competitive one. Even though you don’t need a college education to get into the business, it seems that certain demographics of Realtors and homeowners are consistently given more representation than others. Despite the fact that we have come a long way as a society, there’s still a long way to go, as disparities in the real estate industry and homeownership overall among different racial groups, genders, and socio-economic status is still far too wide to turn a blind eye to.
Who Runs Real Estate?
When you think of the stereotypical real estate agent, broker, or Realtor, what comes to mind? If it’s a middle-aged, caucasian woman with a blazer and a bright smile, then you’re right on the money.
According to Realtor.com, the typical Realtor is a “54-year old white female who attended college and is a homeowner.” In fact, also according to NAR, 63 percent of Realtors are female, which is why most of us are wired to have this image in our heads.
So, what’s the problem? Women taking the lead in an industry is never a bad thing, especially when it’s clear that, in general, men still dominate the workplace. Unfortunately, even though women account for a higher percentage of Realtors, they’re not necessarily bringing home as much dough as their male counterparts. According to Data USA, while the average salary for a female broker is $54,932, the average salary of a male broker is $92,928.
You decide, then. Who is really running the industry?
To understand this disparity, you’d have to look at a variety of different factors. While women have historically worked as Realtors long before men got into the industry to the degree they are now, it seems that they’ve been able to work their way up the ladder faster, being picked for more leadership roles than women. Obviously, this in itself is a problem that needs to be addressed. The gender pay gap has always been an issue, but usually in occupations in which there are more men than women.
The Race Gap in the Industry
The keyword in Realtor demographics is “white.” Shockingly, a whopping 86.1 percent of real estate brokers and sales agents are white, according to Data USA. After that, 5.11 percent were Asian. There was not even a category for Hispanics. Of course, this is based on a study from 2016. The fact that there hasn’t been any updated information on this since then, is also part of the problem.
But, it’s not just amongst those working in the industry. The racial gap when it comes to homeownership still has surprising numbers, too. In an article from CityLab which referenced a Harvard study, 72 percent of white adults owned homes, while only 43 percent of African-Americans owned homes. According to the Washington Post, this means that homeownership among African-Americans is “…as low as it was when housing discrimination was legal.”
College Education and Socio-Economic Background
Race and socio-economic background usually go hand in hand, which is part of the reason that there are more white homeowners than any other demographic. For instance, according to CityLab, low-income households are much more likely to rent than own a home no matter your race. However, this continually puts non-whites at a disadvantage, as the median income for African-American families is still far less than that of white families.
Lower income usually ties directly to the lack of college education. Again, even though you do not need a college degree to become a Realtor, according to the NAR, just 8 percent of Realtors have only a high school education. These numbers alone tell you that there’s a certain degree of privilege involved when getting into the industry.
Luckily, there are some amazing initiatives in place to help close this gap. According to Forbes, two women, Johnetta Paye and Ernestine Johnson, have made strides by creating the Tulsa Real Estate Fund, a crowdfunding program to help low-income individuals learn about financial literacy and make investments in real estate. There’s also a non-profit called “REAP” which is helping minorities learn about how to get into the business.
Disparities in Real Estate Media
All this considered, we know that social media has had the power to change things. People from all backgrounds are getting exposed to real estate and its potential more and more. Yet, it seems like every time you see an Instagram or Facebook post discussing real estate, there’s a white person behind it.
Real estate Youtube channels and podcasts increasingly have had more white male representation, and often have African-Americans as invited guests on their channels. This isn’t to take a stab at those who are successful and doing great things, especially if they are using their time, resources, and money to educate and give back. But, as we know, representation is everything.
After all, I am a white woman writing this article, too.
The Bottom Line
You probably didn’t need to read this to know that there’s a major disparity in the real estate industry. But, if you in are this industry – as an agent, investor, homeowner, or all three – then it’s important to be aware of what’s going on. We want to be in a business that’s providing all people an equal opportunity. If you happen to be in a position of power in your business, use that power to educate, learn, and give opportunities to those that may not have been given the same head start as you.
And, if you represent one of the minority groups in real estate, then get out there and show your face to your people.