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Real estate agents vs. home listings: When supply outpaces demand

As the number of real estate licenses issued in St. Louis continues to grow, the number of houses actively listed is declining
Credit: Andy Dean - stock.adobe.com

ST. LOUIS — In the first five months of 2021, more than 500 St. Louisans were issued a real estate license. The license, which at the entry level requires no experience in real estate, arms professionals to help clients buy and sell houses.

However, as the number of real estate licenses issued in St. Louis continues to grow, the number of houses actively listed is declining.

Realtor.com’s real estate data library shows that since 2016, the number of active listings in St. Louis has consistently trended downward, from a high of 12,000 in July 2016, when the data was first collected, to 3,700 active listings in April 2021.

The data paints a clear picture of an industry at odds: as the number of real estate professionals in the region continues to grow, the inventory of products that they are licensed to sell dwindles.

Licensed to sell

Data from Illinois and Missouri licensing offices shows the number of licensed real estate salespeople in the St. Louis metro area has skyrocketed in the past five years at a rate of more than 250%, from 208 in 2000 to 761 in 2020. The data shows a few oddities — during the recession of 2008 to 2010, the number of people licensed dipped, and in 2012, the data spiked due to a change in Illinois policies that forced many to get new licenses.

However, the trend is clear: The real estate market is saturated with real estate professionals. This year, 499 salesperson licenses have been granted already.

Real estate licenses typically fall into one of two categories: a broker license or a salesperson license. 

Click here for the full story from the St. Louis Business Journal.