Ministry of Business and Innovation - Occupation Outlook

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Real Estate Salespeople

Job Prospects

Job Prospects... At a glance

Job and income prospects for real estate salespersons depend on the state of the housing market – that is, the number of houses that are sold. The housing market can change quite quickly. Having an established reputation and established network of contacts is important, which takes time and hard work. This means that it can be hard for a school leaver to enter the industry.

How to become a real estate salesperson

What they do

Real estate salespersons arrange the sale of properties and help buyers to find suitable properties.

Real estate is a challenging industry to work in, as the hours are long, clients expect you to be available after hours, and it takes time, hard work and patience to build a reputation. 

Skills employers look for

According to the latest information from the New Zealand and Australian online job ads, some of the top skills employers look for include:

  • property and portfolio management skills such as budgeting, office management, and negotiation
  • ability to build relationships, communicate and organise
  • ability to use Microsoft Office applications.

 Source: Burning Glass Technologies’ Labor Insight™ Real-time Labor Market Information tool

Qualifications needed

Real estate salespersons must complete a National Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4) before applying for a licence from the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA). This course takes three to eight months to complete if done full-time.  A real estate salesperson works for a real estate agent who owns the real estate agency.

Cost of study

National Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson, level 4)
$1,000 - 2,000 over three to eight months

Average costs in 2018 for a domestic student. Costs vary between institutions. First time students may be eligible for  fees-free tertiary education for their first year of study, which will reduce the total cost. For more information about fees-free eligibility, go to Some polytechnics may have a zero-fees scheme. Further costs include materials, textbooks, and accommodation.

The Skills Organisation (the industry training organisation for real estate) provides information on available training courses.

Rents vary from place to place. Estimated market rents by region, city and suburb are available on the MBIE Tenancy Services website.

The StudyLink website provides general budget advice for students, and the Sorted website provides help with detailed budget planning.

Skills org., real estate: 
Tenancy Services: 

Where to study

Study for real estate qualifications can take place through The Skills Organisation, TAFE College NZ, The Open Polytechnic, Unitec, and the Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. Some tertiary institutions allow distance learning.

TAFE College NZ:
The Open Polytechnic: 
Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology: 

You can also complete a property degree at the University of Auckland, Massey University or Lincoln University.  See the REAA website for further information on the degree programmes.

REAA, required qualifications:


To become a real estate salesperson you must be licensed with the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA). To become licensed, you must first complete the National Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4). You can then apply for your licence online via the REAA’s website.

According to the REAA, there were 15,395 active real estate licences in New Zealand as of 31 October 2016.

REAA, licensing:

Completed qualifications

In 2015, 1,852 students completed a National Certificate in Real Estate (Level 4) this included 790 who did the certificate through The Skills Organisation. The number of people completing real estate qualifications has increased in the last few years, due to the buoyant housing market.

Income and employment prospects


In 2017, the average income for real estate agents is estimated to be $82,000.

Estimated Average Income

Source: MBIE estimates based on Statistics NZ Census and Labour Cost Index  

Real estate salespeople are paid on commission (a percentage of the sale price). The more sales aa salesperson makes, the more he or she is paid. If there is no sale, the salesperson is paid nothing. For this reason, real estate agent incomes are highly variable. 

Employment and skill shortages

Real estate agents’ employment

HistoricProjected Growth
2006 2013 2021 2026
15,741 14,322 17,199 19,544
  -1.3% 3.1% 2.6%

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections. Percentages are compound annual growth rates.
*Growth projections are for the category “Real Estate Sales Agents”.

Employment in this occupation declined between 2006 and 2013. Employment is projected to grow at around 3.1% per year until 2021, as more houses are sold. After 2021, growth is expected to slow to 2.6% out to 2026.

Employment chart

Source: Statistics NZ Census and MBIE projections

Where to find job vacancies

The number of online job vacancies for real estate salespersons has increased quickly during the last few years. In December 2017, the volume of ads had more than doubled compared to December 2011. This could mean that there has been a recent increase in demand for real estate salespeople.

Jobs advertised chart

Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Real estate vacancies are advertised through public media such as the Trade Me Jobs and Seek websites, and on specialist sites such as NZ Real Estate Jobs.

Trade Me Jobs: 
NZ Real Estate Jobs:

Career path

Real estate salespersons can gain experience in speciality areas, such as commercial property, apartments, lifestyle and rural properties, business sales, or residences in a specific region or district. To open your own real estate business you need to complete further education and licensing.

Other related occupations for a real estate salesperson include auctioneer or property manager.

Related occupations

The following occupations are related roles or alternative titles. Some of the roles may require a higher level of skill than entry-level real estate salesperson.

  • Auctioneer
  • Business Broker
  • Property Manager
  • Property Portfolio Manager
  • Real Estate Agent

Other information


More information on real estate salespeople is available on the Careers New Zealand website and through the "Just the Job" videos.

Careers New Zealand: 
The Skills Organisation:
Just the Job video clip: A Career in Real Estate


The Australian New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations (ANZSCO) is the official classification of occupations in New Zealand.

The occupation of real estate agent has been coded to the following ANZSCO code for the purpose of this report:

6121 – Real Estate Sales Agents