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Many Brokers Made More Money In 2020 Than The Year Before, New Study Shows

Global pandemic or not, just over a third of brokers across the country said they made more money in 2020 than in 2019. The news comes from a nationwide poll conducted in December by commercial real estate broker software company Apto and shared first with Bisnow.

Despite all the year's challenges, 34% of brokers say they made more money in 2020 than in 2019.

It is true that the number of respondents who made more money in 2020 than in 2019 declined markedly from the 58% who reported higher year-over-year income at the end of 2019. But brokers stayed relatively stable despite the wild ride of a year the commercial real estate industry and the rest of the economy just had.

“It’s expected in our industry that brokers can do well in good times and in bad, whether investors are buying or selling or adding or shedding space,” Apto founder Tanner McGraw said. "In this environment, it’s surprising in some ways that anyone made any money.”

Brokers surveyed also said transaction volume was down: 57% of brokers polled completed fewer transactions in 2020 than they did in 2019. In addition, 14% of brokers completed the same number of transactions last year as they did in 2019 and only 29% of brokers completed more transactions last year than the previous one.

While the coronavirus pandemic has had far-reaching effects on the commercial real estate industry, Apto’s poll indicates brokers don’t necessarily think it will diminish their ranks long-term. Of the brokers surveyed, 79% thought that there would be fewer or the same number of CRE brokers in 10 years as there are today, the same percentage as in 2019’s survey.

Brokers are also feeling optimistic about the year ahead, with 75% of brokers predicting they will make more money in 2021 than they did in 2020. That’s an increase from 2019, when just 70% expected the coming year to be more profitable.