INDUSTRY NEWSNationalReal Estate News

Market boom prompts agent increase

Whether it was the popularity of Luxe Listings or the fact the property market enjoyed an upswing, real estate has become an increasingly popular career choice over the past couple of years, with licence numbers swelling in numerous states.

According to data from NSW Fair Trading there are now almost 20,000 more current real estate agent licences in New South Wales than in 2019, while the Office of Fair Trading recently noted Queensland saw an increase of almost 7500 agents last year alone.

But what exactly was driving the boom and will it continue?

A cyclical nature

Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) Chief Executive Officer Antonia Mercorella said the recent uptick in registered real estate agents in Queensland followed a similar trend seen in previous years when the property market was doing well.

However, she also noted the rise of real estate agent focused television shows, such as Luxe Listings Sydney and Million Dollar Agent could be spurring on the popularity of a real estate career.

New South Wales

YearNo of active licencesIncrease
201957,635 N/A
202277,318 (as at 14 June)7404
Data courtesy of NSW Fair Trading

“Historically when there’s a strong property market, which we’ve had in the past could of years, that becomes an impetus for people entering the industry,” Ms Mercorella said.

“But you’d be naïve to think that maybe TV hadn’t also played a role.

“Just like TV shows about renovations saw an explosion in renovating, the same could well go for real estate.”


YearNew licences granted
20221825 (Jan 1-Mar 31)
Current total active licencesOver 45,000
Data from the Office of Fair Trading via the Courier Mail

While there are now more than 45,000 active real estate licences in Queensland, Ms Mercorella stressed this may not translate to a huge increase in agents on the ground, with many people attaining their licence and utilising it in other ways.

“Some of these people may have undertaken the qualification and even registered their licence, but that doesn’t mean they’ll end up working in real estate,” she said.

“They might keep it there as a back-up, perhaps conduct one or two sales a year on behalf of family and friends or maybe it’s not their main occupation.”

That said, Ms Mercorella noted the real estate industry was currently Queensland’s second largest employer, and offered a great career path.

“A real estate qualification opens a lot of doors, including residential sales, property management, commercial sales, buyers agents or even as a business broker.”

She also said it was a career which often provided flexible working hours and the potential for lucrative income.

But if people were entering the sector thinking it would be easy, she urged them to think again.

“There’s often a perception anyone can be successful, but that’s a misconception,” Ms Mercorella said.

“It can be a rewarding and lucrative career and you can absolutely earn a significant amount of money with an income that is virtually uncapped.

“However, it is harder work than is generally understood by the community, and there are very few people who might be willing to work in a role where there is no guaranteed return for their effort.”

Looking to the future, Ms Mercorella said the number of people entering the industry typically drops off as the market slows, and that’s likely to be the case now the market appears to be shifting.

As for agents who may have entered the industry over the past couple of years, her advice was to stick it out, engage in ongoing training, and turn their attention to good systems and procedures to help them best service their clients.

“We know the property market is cyclical… When times are tough we often see people leave the industry, but they need to sick it out if they want to be successful,” she said.

“Agents have enjoyed a privileged existence these last two years but that market is now changing.”

Steady in Victoria

While real estate licence numbers in Queensland and New South Wales might be higher than two years ago, in Victoria, REIV CEO Quentin Kilian said there had not been a similar influx of new entrants to the industry.

“The property market here has really increased with values rising 25 per cent, but there has not been a correlation in terms of increased licence numbers,” he said.

The reason for that might be the protracted lockdowns Victoria endured throughout the pandemic.

Or Mr Kilian speculated, it could be due to the maturity of the Victorian market, which was less impacted by peaks and troughs.

Meanwhile, he also had advice for both new and experienced agents as the market begins to shift.

“Things get tougher as the market gets tighter,” he said.

“Agents have to change their methods, rely less on technology and get back to old school selling techniques where they’re actively talking to people on the phone or face-to-face.”

He also noted now was the time for agents to hone their craft and continue their training.

“Look to your institute and use this as an opportunity to ensure your professional development is up to date.

“Now is a great time to go back and relearn your craft.”

Coaching tips

Real estate coach Caroline Bolderston offered a number of tips for agents who were new to the industry over the past couple of years or looking to hone their craft as the market shifts.

She noted for new agents who were unfamiliar with a slowing market, mentoring would be key, while three key skills would be essential:

1. The ability to identify an actual buyer

“They might look like buyers, but 10 per cent are actual buyers and there can be a lot of distractions around things like contracts,” she said.

2. Conversations with new clients

Ms Bolderston said good communication with new clients would now be essential, including educating vendors on the state of the market, and also the interested buyers their property would likely attract.

“It helps if they understand what’s going on and the agent sets the right expectations,” she said.

3. Price expectations

Ms Bolderston noted it was important to give hope around the price a vendor’s property would achieve, while also identifying what the agent expects to see in order to achieve that goal.

“You then follow through with proactive conversations if you’re not on track to achieve that goal,” she said.

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Cassandra Charlesworth

Cassandra Charlesworth is a features writer for Elite Agent Magazine with over 15 years’ journalism experience in metropolitan and regional newsrooms. She has a specialist interest in real estate, tech disruption and a good old-fashioned “yarn”.