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Housing market recovery a mixed blessing for real estate agents

6/10/2016 | Real Estate Blog

Real estate agents in Pennsylvania and around the country have seen the amount of their commissions increase in recent years as the housing market gradually recovers from losses suffered during the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent recession, but these gains have been largely offset by the frequent reluctance of property owners to sell their homes as they wait for prices to climb even higher. The situation is made even more challenging by a recent surge in the number of real estate agents.

The sudden shortage of properties to sell has come as a shock to many real estate agents who have focused their energies in recent years on clearing a nationwide backlog of foreclosures. Data from the National Association of Realtors reveals that the number of properties on the market in April 2016 was down 3.6 percent compared to figures from a year earlier.

The NAR also reports a surge in membership of more than 100,000 since 2012, and many of these new members are hungry to start earning quickly after suffering significant setbacks during the Great Recession. Experienced agents also report a reduction in the number of affluent overseas buyers who once took advantage of a reeling market and eagerly snapped up distressed properties. Industry experts say that this is largely due to economic upheaval in Asia that began in June 2015 and went on to precipitate a 45 percent drop in share prices on the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

As has been seen over the past few years, the vagaries of the residential real estate market have affected not only buyers, sellers and brokers, but builders as well. Real estate developers often face legal hurdles as well as economic ones, such as zoning and neighborhood issues, and the advice of counsel can often be helpful in meeting these challenges.