Over the last few years, a record number of people have decided to become real estate agents. Many were drawn to the profession by the booming housing market in 2021. However, the market has slowed down since then, so some new (and seasoned) agents may struggle to find enough work.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for agents to be intentional about where they work. The city you work in can significantly impact your chance of success. Some factors to consider when choosing a city to work in include:
- Average real estate agent salary
- The total amount of real estate value
- Median home prices
- Housing inventory
- Economic growth
- Cost of living
Based on these factors, we’ve ranked the top ten U.S. cities for real estate agents in 2023. Here they are:
Table of Contents
- Salt Lake City, Utah
- Seattle, Washington
- Austin, Texas
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Huntsville, Alabama
- San Jose, California
- Raleigh, North Carolina
- Houston, Texas
- Denver, Colorado
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
1. Salt Lake City, Utah
Known for its natural beauty, Salt Lake City (SLC) is Utah's capital and largest city. Over the last few years, its real estate market has been on fire, thanks partly to its booming tech hub, often called “Silicon Slopes.”
Agents who work in SLC can expect an annual median salary of $48,520, slightly higher than the national median salary of $48,340.
That said, there’s a lot of income potential for agents. SLC is the 50th most valuable city in the U.S., with a total real estate value of $103 billion and a median home value of $312,000.
Additionally, the city ranks 51st for the highest number of households, and in March 2023, it had 1,546 active listings, a 170% increase from last year. SLC is also the sixth fastest-growing city based on 2023 GDP growth.
2. Seattle, Washington
The largest city in the Pacific Northwest with a population of over 700,000, Seattle can be a great place for agents to work. Home to tech giants like Microsoft and Amazon, as well as beautiful mountains and ocean views, it attracts a constant flow of people looking to buy homes.
Agents can earn a median annual salary of $61,520 in the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region, much higher than the national median salary. Of course, you must also remember that the cost of living in Washington ranks 40th nationwide.
Still, there’s a lot of real estate in Seattle for agents to work with. It’s ranked the eighth most valuable U.S. city with a total real estate value of $700 billion. That’s about the value of Meta (formerly Facebook) or the GDP of Switzerland. The median home value in Seattle is $498,000.
As for housing inventory, the Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue region has the 14th highest number of households, with 3,105 active listings in March, a 66% increase from last year. It’s also the third fastest-growing U.S. city in 2023 based on GDP.
3. Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, is another great option for agents. It’s the capital of Texas and has a population of nearly 1 million. It’s also home to major companies like Tesla, Apple, and IBM, which help contribute to its booming real estate market.
Austin’s active listings in March reached an impressive 6,531, which makes for a year-over-year increase of 312%!
It’s also worth noting that Austin, Texas, holds $248 billion worth of total real estate, and it's the second-fastest growing city in the U.S., with a 2023 GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
Agents who choose to work here can expect to make a median annual salary of $59,770 as an agent, which is over $10,000 more than the national median salary—not bad for a city in a state with the 15th lowest cost of living.
4. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville, aka “Music City,” is known for its thriving music industry. However, it also has a hot real estate market. In March, there were 6,071 active listings in Nashville, a 299% increase from last year.
Additionally, the real estate in Nashville is worth a combined $209 billion (the equivalent of New Zealand’s GDP), and the median home value here is $265,000. In other words, there’s a lot of real estate for agents to earn a potential commission on.
Tennessee also has a relatively low cost of living, ranking tenth on the 2022 Annual Average Cost of Living Index, which helps make up for Nashville’s relatively low annual median real estate agent salary of $31,550.
5. Huntsville, Alabama
Huntsville is home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center and several prestigious universities, like the University of Alabama and Alabama A&M University—all of which create a high demand for housing.
In March, active property listings in Huntsville reached 1,446, an impressive 312% increase from last year.
The annual median salary for agents sits close to the national median at $48,980. However, the 90th percentile of agents can make up to $204,750! When you consider that Alabama has the fourth lowest cost of living of all 50 states, that’s a lot of potential money for agents to pocket.
6. San Jose, California
San Jose is the largest city in Silicon Valley, with a population of nearly 1 million. Agents who work here may access $568 billion worth of real estate, where the median home value is an incredible $1.1 million!
The San Francisco Bay Area, of which San Jose is a part, is also the fastest-growing city in the U.S., with a 2023 GDP of $1.5 trillion. In March, it had 870 active listings, representing a 10% increase from last year.
Though the cost of living in San Jose is relatively high, agents can expect to make a median annual salary of over $60,000, with the 90th percentile making close to $130,000.
7. Raleigh, North Carolina
Part of North Carolina’s thriving Research Triangle, Raleigh is consistently ranked one of the best places to live, thanks to its high quality of life, low cost of living, and growing job opportunities. It has the fourth-fastest growing economy of any U.S. city, with a 1.6% 2023 GDP growth rate.
Raleigh is also the 45th most valuable U.S. city in terms of its real estate, collectively worth $127 billion. The median home value here is $271,000.
Though the median annual agent salary here is only $38,530, there’s a lot of growth potential. In March, the Raleigh-Cary region had 2,597 active property listings, a 273% increase from last year, and agents in the 90th percentile can earn over six figures.
8. Houston, Texas
With a population of over 2.3 million, Houston is the fourth largest city in the U.S. It’s also known as the “Energy Capital of the World” because it’s home to over 500 oil and gas companies, which help drive its thriving real estate market.
Houston is the 18th fastest-growing city in the U.S., with $535 billion worth of real estate and a median home value of $211,000. In March, there were a breathtaking 17,407 active listings, up 63% from last year. This presents many opportunities for agents to earn commissions on home sales.
The median annual salary for agents in Houston is just $38,340. However, the 90th percentile can make over $100,000, and Texas has the 15th lowest cost of living in the U.S., making it easier to keep more of your salary.
9. Denver, Colorado
The capital city of Colorado, Denver, has a population of over 700,000 and a metropolitan area with over 3 million people. On top of having many outdoor attractions, the city serves as a major transportation hub, thanks to its international airport and many highways running through it.
Denver is also the eighth-fastest growing city in the U.S., with a growing tech industry. The median home value in Denver is $430,000, and the total value of its real estate is $439 billion, the equivalent size of JPMorgan Chase & Co or Argentina’s GDP.
Though the cost of living in Denver is relatively high, agents can expect to make a median annual salary of $61,480 (or over $130,000 if you land in the 90th percentile). Additionally, Denver had 3,429 active property listings in March, an 86% increase from last year.
10. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma City is one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S. Its population grew by 2.2% since 2020. It has the ninth-fastest growing economy of any American city, thanks partly to its business-friendly climate and low tax burden.
Agents who work in Oklahoma City make a median annual salary of $38,350 or up to $160,200 in the 90th percentile. Remember that Oklahoma also has the second lowest cost of living of any state in the U.S., which means your salary can typically go much further here.
Additionally, there’s also plenty of potential to grow your agent business. In March, active property listings in Oklahoma City reached 2,979, a 129% increase from last year.
Find Listing Leads in Your Preferred City With PropStream!
Now that you know the top 10 cities for agents, you’re better positioned to decide where to work. However, it's important to remember that the city you choose should be somewhere you want to settle long term. After all, you’ll need to get licensed and dedicate considerable time and effort to building your business there.
One way you can get an edge on the competition, no matter where you work, is to use PropStream.
PropStream can help you easily find seller leads to help keep your pipeline full. Try our 7-day free trial today and get 50 leads on us!
Notes on sources:
- Data on average real estate agent salaries taken from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
- Data on cities’ total and median real estate values taken from LendingTree.com
- Data on housing inventory and number of households taken from Realtor.com® Economic Research
- Data on economic growth taken from the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise
- Data on the cost of living taken from the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center