Real estate sales agents are consultants and salespeople who help their clients find homes to purchase. They also sell or rent properties for clients as necessary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of jobs in real estate sales is expected to grow by about 14 percent from 2008 to 2018. The income of real estate sales agents can vary by location and employer, but is largely dependent upon the efforts of the sales agent.
The average salary of real estate sales agents was $52,490 per year as of May 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Although not paid hourly, the bureau notes that the average hourly rate of pay for agents was $25.24. The bureau notes that 153,740 individuals were working as real estate sales agents in 2010. The median salary of these real estate agents was $40,030 in 2010, according to the bureau.
The average and median salaries of real estate agents can be easier to understand when placed in context of the pay scale of real estate agents nationwide. The majority of real estate agents made between $27,400 and $63,410 in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The wide variance in pay helps to account for the disparity between average and median pay among real estate agents. According to the bureau, the top agents in the field made more than $95,220 per year.
Employers provide one indicator of the earning potential of real estate sales agents. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates five major industries in which real estate sales agents are typically employed: sales offices of real estate brokers, real estate leasing offices, land subdivision, residential building construction and real estate-related activities. These five major industries offered real estate agents an average salary range of $46,480 to $58,230 per year.
Location also provides an indicator of what real estate sales agents can expect to make. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the highest-paying locations for real estate careers, in terms of average annual salaries, were the District of Columbia, New York, Illinois, North Carolina and Vermont. The bureau reports that agents working in Washington, D.C., made an average salary of $84,070 per year. Those in New York earned $75,180, while agents in Illinois earned an average of $72,440 per year. Real estate agents in North Carolina and Vermont earned $68,310 and $67,770 per year, respectively.