The hundreds of thousands of realtors who are no longer making any money won't show up in the government unemployment report, just like the millions of unemployed illegals no longer building homes. But they're still jobless, still unable to earn a living, and it's just gonna get worse.
Mortgage Lending Crisis Puts the Squeeze on Realtors
The National Association of Realtors expects a 4 percent drop in membership this year, the first decline in a decade.
Many Bay Area real estate agents are feeling the squeeze. When the housing market was hot, some people abandoned their jobs to get a real estate license.
"I do the real estate five days a week and then I work part-time three nights a week at a department store," said Crystal Carreno, who got into the Vallejo market three years ago.
American Canyon realtor Erin Heeley said it wasn’t long ago when the city was considered the fastest growing in the Bay Area. She never used to see more than 35 homes on the market at a time, but the glut of foreclosures has now pushed inventory to over 170.
"The sad thing is I also have lender friends and title and escrow friends who have lost their jobs that are out looking for full-time jobs," said Heeley.
Things are tough even on the pricier Peninsula, where realtor Mike Karamitas sold his software consulting company four years ago after the bottom dropped out of the tech market, only to find another bubble bursting in housing.
"I know there's people in our office who are really really in trouble. I'm in trouble. I'm almost living hand to mouth. Some months it's very lean," he said.
California expects to see a 7 percent drop in realtors this year.