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Riding the Waves of Change

No one could anticipate with any degree of certainty where the real estate industry would stand more than one year beyond the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. But after a couple of barren months initially—sparked by a pandemic-induced recession and near worldwide lockdown—a housing boom took hold. The results of RISMedia’s 2021 Power Broker Survey tell the story.

Despite the devastating impact of COVID-19 on so many facets of life and business, real estate thrived in 2020, with this year’s Top 1,000 Power Brokers reporting nearly $1.7 trillion in sales volume compared to last year’s $1.4 trillion. 2020’s average transaction amount also soared over 2019, rising from $374,314 to more than $400,000. What’s more, Power Broker sentiment for 2021 marks a first in our 33-year history of the survey: 50% of power brokers describe their market as “booming” compared to just 18% who described it as such the year before.

Today, with hot market conditions prevalent in almost every area of the country, Power Brokers are riding the wave. But they’re also bracing themselves for the other shoe to drop: lack of inventory and increasing affordability issues. While “Lack of Inventory” has been ranked the No. 1 challenge in the Power Broker Survey for four years running—the extent and scope of the issue is greater than ever, according to a whopping 84% of Power Brokers.

The year ahead will once again unfold with varying degrees of uncertainty. While the positive impact of vaccinations and potential herd immunity hold promise of a potential return to normalcy come summer, rising interest rates, persistent unemployment and increasing taxes are all on Power Brokers’ radars as they move forward. No matter how things shake out, the real estate professionals who have invested in innovation and increasing their professionalism are the ones who will win out.

For further insights and predictions from this year’s Power Brokers, please see our in-depth Power Broker coverage in the April issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine.