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Real Estate Agent Salary: Income Data + Facts

Looking for real estate agent salary and income data? You've found the place.

Bottom line, most agents don't make very much. But the good ones clean up.

Here's the quick-and-dirty (for readers who are on-the-go):

Below, we'll dive into what drives the underwhelming income figure for most agents and examine how local dynamics and top-performing agents make a huge difference.

At the end of the day, if you can work to become a top performer in any market, you can make a whole lot of money in real estate.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

What does real estate agent income look like in the top 20 real estate markets in the United States?

The graphic below is actually a scrollable table — feel free to scroll within and click on individual markets to see a more precise income graph, showing the income distribution curve.

If the table above isn't working, we've also placed all the real estate agent salary information below.

New York, NY

The average salary for a real estate agent in New York City is just over $45,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Los Angeles, CA

The average salary for a real estate agent in Los Angeles is just under $43,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Chicago, IL

The average salary for a real estate agent in Chicago is just over $41,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Miami, FL

The average salary for a real estate agent in Miami is just under $38,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

San Francisco, CA

The average salary for a real estate agent in San Francisco is just under $49,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Washington, D.C.

The average salary for a real estate agent in Washington, D.C. is just under $43,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Dallas, TX

The average salary for a real estate agent in Dallas is just under $40,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Houston, TX

The average salary for a real estate agent in Houston is just under $40,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Seattle, WA

The average salary for a real estate agent in Seattle is just over $42,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

San Diego, CA

The average salary for a real estate agent in San Diego is just over $43,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Boston, MA

The average salary for a real estate agent in Boston is just over $43,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Atlanta, GA

The average salary for a real estate agent in Atlanta is just under $40,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Philadelphia, PA

The average salary for a real estate agent in Philadelphia is just under $41,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Minneapolis, MN

The average salary for a real estate agent in Minneapolis is just under $41,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Denver, CO

The average salary for a real estate agent in Denver is just under $40,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Austin, TX

The average salary for a real estate agent in Austin is just under $38,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

St. Louis, MO

The average salary for a real estate agent in St. Louis is just under $38,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Portland, OR

The average salary for a real estate agent in Portland, OR is just under $40,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Phoenix, AZ

The average salary for a real estate agent in Phoenix, AZ is just under $38,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

Tampa, FL

The average salary for a real estate agent in Tampa is just under $38,000.

real estate agent salary

Source: salary.com

HEADS UP! Income growth (for the average agent) can take a long time — and even then the income isn't mind-blowing.

Check out this salary growth chart provided by PayScale. In real estate, many people feel that the "sky is the limit" and that income potential is almost unchecked. However, the statistics show that for the majority of real estate agents out there, just being an average agent doesn't.

Starting at $42,000 per year as a brand new agent and working 20 years to make $67,000? That's the equivalent of getting at 2.5% raise every year — that's not even enough to beat inflation, which comes in between 3-5%. That means you're effectively making less money every year if you're just an average agent.

The solution? Learn how to become a top-performer and the sky will be the limit on how much you can earn as a real estate agent.

real estate agent salary

Source: payscale.com

Also, there's a lot to consider when thinking about what kind of real estate agent you want to be.

I'm going to focus on the residential real estate market, since that's what I know best. If you're curious about what getting into commercial real estate looks like, feel free to check out this article from Realtor.com.

In residential real estate, rentals and sales are very different playgrounds.

Here are the two primary facts/variables you have to weigh as a real estate agent when choosing where to focus your time.

At the end of the day, you'll have to make a risk assessment about starting in sales or not. Fortunately, many sales agents start their careers in rentals to build up a portfolio of satisfied renter clients who they can eventually convert into buyer clients.

real estate agent salary

Source: lifehacker.com

Taking this approach will help you assess what the right career trajectory is for you — the options typically are:

KEY TAKEAWAY: Regardless of what your aspirations are for your career in residential real estate, starting in rentals can make a lot of sense.

And if you can figure out how to become a top-performer in rentals, the world is your oyster, whether you choose to stay in rentals, start a brokerage or move into sales. Enjoy the fruits of your hard work and never settle for the average!