Your career typically influences where in the world you settle down. Technology experts, for example, usually flock to the West Coast, while politicians make their way toward Washington, D.C. But when it comes to real estate agents, the options seem a little more open-ended. That is, until now.
To determine the best markets for real estate agents, WalletHub looked at 179 cities across the U.S. and compared them across 19 key indicators of a healthy real estate environment, including annual median wage for real-estate agents, projected real-estate jobs needed by 2026 and the average ratio of home sale price to home list price.
With this data, they scored each city on whether its conditions were favorable for real estate agents to thrive.
Below are 15 cities that WalletHub says are the hottest markets for agents, starting with the least favorable of the top 15. Also shown from the study:
- City’s overall rank (of 179 cities) for agents
- City’s overall score (of 100 possible points)
- Rank for agents’ job opportunity and competition
- Rank for the health of the city’s real estate market
15. Tempe, Arizona
Overall score: 54.81
Agent opportunity: 53
Real estate market: 5
Despite recent tension locally around rising home costs, Tempe is a contender for real estate agents looking for a good place to work.
Home values have surged partly because more companies have moved into town. This trend has driven more working professionals to Tempe, increasing competition for homes and apartments.
WalletHub’s study cites Tempe as one of five cities with the highest home turnover rate in the country.
14. Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Overall score: 55.19
Agent opportunity: 43
Real estate market: 1
When it comes to real estate market health, WalletHub ranks Sioux Falls at the very top of the charts. This metric reflects several things, from home values to foreclosures.
The demand for housing in some price ranges outweighs the supply in the Sioux Falls market, according to the Realtor Association of the Sioux Empire. The city experienced an almost 8% increase in new listings, and pending sales grew 24% in the first quarter of 2019.
13. Fargo, North Dakota
Overall score: 55.52
Agent opportunity: 15
Real estate market: 25
Your only impression might come from the Coen brothers’ 1996 movie “Fargo,” but this North Dakota city is about much more than quirky locals, car dealers and snow. The state’s well-known reserves of oil and natural gas are helping propel the economy of the state and cities like Fargo.
12. Vancouver, Washington
Overall score: 55.60
Agent opportunity: 14
Real estate market: 33
The real estate market in Vancouver is trending up. From April 2018 to April 2019, surrounding Clark County saw a 14.3% increase in new listings and a 7.5% increase in home sales, with sale prices gradually growing over the last year.
Vancouver is a promising place to call home, for proximity to city life and if you love the outdoors. A suburb of Portland, Oregon, Vancouver is near the Columbia River Gorge, with its biking, hiking, fishing and other recreation opportunities.
11. Santa Rosa, California
Overall score: 55.64
Agent opportunity: 12
Real estate market: 35
WalletHub not only put Santa Rosa among the top 15 best cities for real estate agents, but it also gave it high marks in another recent study, of the Happiest Cities in America.
In that analysis, Santa Rosa specifically ranked well for its community and environment. This considered factors such as hate crimes, weather and average leisure time. It doesn’t hurt that Santa Rosa is nestled in the heart of California’s wine country.
Those selling points give real estate agents plenty to work with. WalletHub’s research ranks Santa Rosa the third most attractive city for real-estate employment.
Overall score: 55.99
Agent opportunity: 28
Real estate market: 16
This state capital is nicknamed the “Valley of the Sun.” For good reason. U.S. News & World Report ranks Phoenix 26th of 125 U.S. metros in its Best Places to Live in the USA. The ever-present sunshine makes life pleasant as you hike the surrounding desert trails, enjoy a professional baseball game or even sell real estate.
Phoenix homes are relatively affordable, with a median home value of $242,600 and a median rent of $1,450, according to Zillow.
9. Washington, D.C.
Overall score: 56.96
Agent opportunity: 6
Real estate market: 38
The nation’s capital has a lot to offer real estate agents in terms of job opportunity and competition. WalletHub ranks the city high for key points such as agents’ annual median wage and real-estate employment growth.
In fact, D.C.’s overall job market is strong. Government jobs are one big source of employment, as you’d expect, but so are the tech industry and booming hospitality industry, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Overall score: 57.13
Agent opportunity: 5
Real estate market: 53
Realtor.com recently ranked the Boston metro area as the fourth-hottest housing market in the country.
While the region dropped two spots from 2018, homes for sale there are on the market on for just 30 days on average. That’s one of the fastest turnovers of any of these 20 “hottest” markets.
7. Fremont, California
Overall score: 57.49
Agent opportunity: 27
Real estate market: 3
Fremont is the fourth most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The median home value in Fremont is $1.1 million, an increase of about 5% over last year, according to Zillow. With those values, agents are no doubt earning some hefty commissions.
The median cost of rent in Fremont is $3,350, actually a bit lower than rents in surrounding cities.
WalletHub points to Fremont for its especially healthy real estate market and the quick turnaround of sale properties.
Overall score: 57.64
Agent opportunity: 25
Real estate market: 2
Colorado’s capital city came in as the second healthiest real estate market of all 179 cities in WalletHub’s study.
In May, the number of homes for sale jumped about 27% in one month, growing 38% year-over-year. Inventory is the highest seen since late 2013.
5. San Jose, California
Overall score: 58.08
Agent opportunity: 16
Real estate market: 7
In addition to high home values — median value here is over $1 million — WalletHub ranked San Jose fourth for housing market health. This index includes factors such as the number of homes sold for a gain, the inventory of REO (owned by lenders) properties and a city’s foreclosure ratio.
The Bay Area’s largest city (yes, San Jose is bigger than San Francisco) is living up to its reputation, with no signs of slowing down. Google is building a massive campus in downtown San Jose, promising to create new housing along with the project.
4. Oakland, California
Overall score: 58.30
Agent job opportunity: 9
Real estate market: 13
There’s a lot of opportunity for real estate agents in Oakland, another San Francisco Bay Area city. WalletHub ranks it fourth overall for real estate employment, a measurement of real estate job density and competition. The metric for agents’ job competition is calculated by the number of job openings per 100 resumes.
Homes in Oakland spend very few days on the market.
3. San Francisco
Overall score: 62.07
Agent opportunity: 4
Real estate market: 18
Homes for sale in San Francisco also spend few days on market. Yahoo reports the median home price here was a whopping $1,304,300 in January. With listings this costly, real estate agents are poised to make sizable commissions.
Also supporting San Francisco real estate agents’ opportunities is the city’s healthy overall job market. The unemployment rate in the City by the Bay is a very low 2.7%, while household incomes are well above the national average.
2. Salem, Oregon
Overall score: 63.74
Agent opportunity: 3
Real estate market: 8
This cultured city has a high turnover rate of homes — joining several cities tied for the top score on that metric — and it has one of the highest scores for sales per agent in this study.
Considering the opportunities for real estate professionals, Willamette Valley’s vineyards and the thriving local arts scene, Salem looks like a great place to settle down.
Overall score: 64.28
Agent opportunity: 1
Real estate market: 12
Seattle tops this survey of the best cities for real estate agents. Homes here don’t spend long on the market, and WalletHub ranks Seattle at the top city for real estate job opportunity and competition.
The Emerald City is home to several professional sports teams, has a relaxed culture and is known for its robust tech industry, all of which add up to draw people looking to settle there and buy real estate.
If your career was calling you to any of these U.S. cities, would you move there? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page.