During the five-year housing boom, many realtors were flying high and making good money. Buyers were a dime a dozen and house prices -- the basis for their 5 percent commissions -- were going up.
Today, contractions in the US mortgage and housing industries are taking a toll on the realtor ranks.
There were 22,499 agents in Massachusetts at the end of July, down from 24,788 last December, according to Eric Berman, spokesman for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors. California and Florida -- two of the largest states and among the nation's hottest housing markets -- had bigger reductions.
When the market is booming, agents tell me new people rush into the industry from all walks of life. But when there's a contraction, those who are inexperienced or haven't built a large client base often suffer first.
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