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Commercial brokers made more money last year than ever before: NAR

Commercial real estate brokers, agents and appraisers made more money than ever last year, even as transactions slow because of tight inventory.

A survey by the National Association of Realtors found that the median gross annual income for commercial members hit an all-time high of $150,700 last year, almost $30,000 more than 2016.

Transactions dropped to a median of seven in 2017 from eight the year prior, but the median dollar value of sales hit $602,500 from $543,500 in 2016. Median transaction volume was up to $3.87 million last year, a $370,500 increase from 2016.

On the leasing side, median gross volume was up to $705,500 from $538,500 in 2016.

The growth in income and transaction volume “has convinced more and more members to enter the commercial industry,” according to Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist.

NAR represents 1.3 million people in the residential and commercial industries and 2,324 people responded to its commercial survey.

Brokers were the highest paid of the bunch, taking in an annual gross income of nearly $187,000, but income was up across the board. NAR’s commercial members with less than two years of experience saw their median annual income rise to $44,000 last year from $31,500 in 2016.

The figures for 2018 and beyond might end up telling a different story. Rising interest rates and lower demand for office and retail space could hold back growth in the sector.

Deal volume rose 4 percent in the first half of 2018 over the same period last year, but that’s likely a momentary bump, Colliers International U.S. Chief Economist Andrew Nelson told Bisnow last month. He expects volumes to drop in the future.

“We’re close to the actual top of the market,” he said. “It’s always difficult to call the top of the market with any precision, but I think we’re very close to it.”

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