Top cities to make the most money as a real estate agent

The real estate profession can be incredibly rewarding, and many real estate agents earn over $100,000 per year. However, not all cities are created equal when it comes to income potential. Factors such as cost of living, demand for housing, and market trends can greatly impact an agent’s earnings. In this article, we will explore some of the highest-paying cities for real estate professionals, discuss average commissions in those areas, and delve into other factors contributing to their success.

High-income hotspots for real estate agents

While there are countless cities around the United States where a real estate agent could potentially pursue a lucrative career, certain urban centers stand out due to their high-cost housing and bustling markets. Among these standout cities are:

  1. New York City, NY
  2. San Francisco, CA
  3. Seattle, WA

New York City: soaring skyscrapers and salaries

New York City is widely regarded as one of the most difficult real estate markets in the world, but its challenges come with great rewards for those who master them. With sky-high rents and property prices, plus millions seeking apartments and homes within the five boroughs, real estate agents in NYC often find themselves making sizable commissions on each transaction they broker. According to data from Indeed, the average commission for a New York State real estate agent is around $95,486.

However, it should be noted that the Big Apple can also be an expensive place to live and work. Real estate agents working in highly competitive environments like Manhattan may face significant costs when it comes to marketing properties, attending networking events, and joining luxury brokerages. Despite these expenses, many NYC-based agents still manage to thrive through hard work, persistence, and effective networking.

San Francisco: the golden gate to real estate riches

San Francisco’s booming tech industry coupled with its limited housing supply has made it one of the most competitive and expensive real estate markets in the United States. As such, real estate agents operating within this city can enjoy significant payouts – especially when dealing with high-end properties or investment opportunities. According to, the median yearly salary for a San Francisco-based real estate agent is $54,789, not including potential commission earnings.

In addition to high property prices inflating commissions, San Francisco’s strong economy and job market also bode well for its real estate agents. The more disposable income individuals have, the more likely they are to invest in property or upgrade their current residences – resulting in steady business for those who can effectively tap into this demand.

Seattle: brewing success in the Pacific Northwest

Seattle’s thriving tech scene and attractive quality of life have made it another hot destination for high-income real estate professionals. Thanks to companies like Amazon and Microsoft, there is no shortage of affluent buyers looking for upscale homes in desirable neighborhoods. Agents who can find and secure fabulous properties for their clients are often rewarded handsomely, with some earning attractive six-figure salaries. In fact, reports that the median salary for Seattle-area real estate agents was $62,735 in 2021.

Factors affecting real estate agents’ income

While location plays a large role in determining an agent’s earning potential, other aspects come into play as well. Experience, professional relationships, and brokerage fees can all make a difference to an agent’s bottom line.

Experience and expertise

The length and breadth of an agent’s career can have a considerable impact on their earnings. Experienced professionals who have built up a strong reputation and network are more likely to attract higher-value clients, leading to increased income.

Building professional relationships

Strong contracts and connections within the industry often lead to referrals, which can directly boost an agent’s business. Maintaining a healthy network of contacts is crucial for securing lucrative deals and staying on top of the latest market trends.

Brokerage fees and split

It’s vital for agents to consider the costs of working with different brokerages, as well as how commission splits may affect their overall income. While some firms offer essential support services and training in exchange for a percentage of each commission earned, others may provide more favorable terms. It’s up to individual agents to weigh these factors against one another when choosing a brokerage affiliation.

In summary: chasing real estate success

Real estate agents who have their sights set on high-income opportunities should focus their careers around desirable markets like New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle. These cities’ high housing demand, affluent populations, and strong economies make them ideal environments for ambitious agents to thrive. By honing their skills, building professional networks, and carefully considering their brokerage affiliations, agents can create a solid foundation for success in these competitive landscapes. Ultimately, the sky truly is the limit for real estate professionals looking to conquer the world’s most lucrative urban centers.