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Examining Manhattan's Real Estate Agent Oversupply

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[This week, real estate appraiser, Curbed graph guru and podcaster extraordinaire Jonathan Miller conducts a broker census.]

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It has been a few years since I looked at the relationship between the number of licensed real estate agents/brokers and the number of residential sales (co-op, condo, 1-3 family houses) that occur in each market. This week I looked at broker/agent tallies in four markets in the NYC metro area and compared them against the corresponding number of residential sales in 2009. Of course this does not consider that licensed agents may only sell commercial property, but the idea was to establish some sort of relationship between licensees and transactions.

The numbers of licensed sales agents ebb and flow during rising and falling periods of activity not unlike the rest of the U.S.

Real estate agents in Manhattan would appear to have it tougher than agents in other markets in the region over the past year. There is more than twice the competition per property than found in the other markets. The Manhattan ratio is 3.2 agents for every residential sale while the other regions are generally consistent — having ratios ranging from 1.2 to 1.5, nearly half the density of Manhattan agents.

Perhaps Manhattan has an unusually large number of agents who maintain but don’t actually use their license? I'm grasping here but it does suggest that there may be a lot more agent fallout over the next year even if the number of sales continues to improve.
· Real Estate Agent to Sales Ratio NYC Metro Area [Miller Samuel]
· Three Cents Worth archive [Curbed]