Broker's Playbook - Good For Real Estate



Agent population growth outweighs provincial growth

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No, it’s not you: the number of agents is growing faster than provincial populations across Canada, but that won’t decide the day, say industry players arguing it’s not the number of licensees that’s the problem.
“It’s not about the number of agents as it is about the quality of agents,” argues Mary-Ann Mears, the managing broker of Sotheby’s International in Calgary. “Agents who are professional and who work the industry do … well in the business.”
But it’s not hard to remain concerned nonetheless: it is far easier for bad apples to make it into a bigger bunch.
In British Columbia, for example, the population grew about four per cent since 2010, to 4.63 million people. The number of licensed real estate agents, however, increased by nine per cent, to 21,146 – or one agent per 222 people.
In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, meanwhile, that difference in growth is more significant. Saskatchewan’s population rose eight per cent to 1.13 million, while the number of agents rose 21 per cent to 1,872. Similarly, in Manitoba, the population rose five per cent, while the number of licensees rose 24 per cent to 2,100 agents.
In those provinces, though, agents cover a wider slice of the population – in theory. The agent-to-population ratio is one-to-552.3 in Saskatchewan and one-to-575.4 in Manitoba.
“There certainly have been more agents added to the roster since the real estate boom,” says Kashlee Parmiter, an agent in Regina. “It really helps to differentiate who’s giving the best service.”
The, of course, in Ontario the provincial population rose just four per cent, to 13.68 million, while the agent population spiked 24 per cent over the last five years, to 63,868. That works out to one agent per 255.6 people.
Like his colleagues, Joe Collina, the managing broker for Re/Max Escarpment in Burlington, Ont., says the issue isn’t the number of agents, but the number of agents who aren’t doing a good job.
“Yes, there are too many unqualified agents; there aren’t enough top notch qualified agents,” he says. “People tend to think, in general, that being a [real estate agent] is an easy job and it’s not. It’s extremely difficult and requires a lot of hard work, if you want to be successful.”