Number of Realtors locally continues to decline

Published: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 4, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.

Home sales that are about half of what they were at the height of the housing market in Gainesville have likewise culled the ranks of Realtors to about half.

That means more hard-working Realtors and less of the part-time agents and people who jumped in when the market was highly speculative, said Craig Wilburn, 2012 president of the Gainesville-Alachua County Association of Realtors.

“It's good for Gainesville having more professionals in the marketplace than just people looking for opportunities,” said Wilburn, who is a vice president with Bosshardt Realty Services.

With 672 renewals in for 2012, Gainesville lost about 50 Realtors from the 725 in 2011 and about half of the 1,300 or so in the market five years ago.

The drop-out rate has slowed as home sales have leveled off in recent years. The number of Realtor sales of existing single-family homes peaked at 3,993 in 2005 and dropped dramatically to 1,925 in 2008. Sales have been up and down since then and in 2011 were on pace to just about equal 2008's totals through November, the latest figures available.

“The majority who got out were those that got in when it was really popular because there was a lot of opportunity out there and you didn't have to be great. You just had to be available,” Wilburn said. “As it got more difficult, you really had to be willing to put the effort in.”

Thomas McIntosh, president of Prudential Trend Realty, said a lot of Realtors relocated or changed careers, while others retired.

He said he expects more to drop out this year based on the projected sales volume.

McIntosh also expects more mergers of small brokerages into larger operations as the smaller businesses find it increasingly difficult to cover the costs of support staff, office space, advertising, insurance, equipment and other overhead costs.

Anthony Clark is business editor at the Sun. He can be reached at or 352-338-3171.

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