Real estate agents in Canada are commission-based, which means that the amount that they make will depend on how many homes they sell or help buy. Having a commission-based salary means that agents are in control of how much money they make, but it also doesn’t guarantee any base salary should they not make any sales. Here's how much real estate agents make in Canada, in each province, and in major cities.
A real estate agent's commission-based salary is a percentage of the selling price of a home, with this commission rate being different depending on the province. For example, commission rates in Ontario are usually 5% of the selling price of a home, while in Alberta the commission is tiered at 7% on the first $100,000 and 3% on the remaining amount. The tiered commission structure of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan result in a lower total commission for homes with a higher selling price compared to a flat commission percentage found in all other provinces.
The commission is paid first to the listing agent, which is the seller's agent, who then gives a part of the commission to the buyer's agent. This is called a cooperating commission since the seller is compensating the buyer agent for helping to sell their home by bringing a buyer to them. Each agent will then pay a share of their commission to their brokerage. The brokerage's share is usually 30% of the agent's commission. Real estate brokerages take care of the overhead and day-to-day operations of the firm, such as training agents and ensuring transactions are completed accurately.
The commission is usually split 50/50 between the listing agent and the buyer agent. In Ontario, the listing agent would get 2.5%, and the buyer agent would get 2.5%.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) represents 135,000 real estate agents and brokers in Canada, and the CREA predicts that there will be 682,900 homes sold in Canada in 2021, with a national average home price of $677,775.
A large number of provinces, ranging from Manitoba all the way to the Maritime Provinces, have a flat commission percentage that is usually 5%. To calculate how much the average Canadian real estate agent will earn, we’ll assume that the commission is evenly split with 2.5% between the listing and buyer agents. With a 2.5% commission and a national average home price of $677,775, the average commission of a home sold in Canada will be $16,944 per agent. The agent will only keep about 70% of this, for a net commission of $11,860.
There are 135,000 Canadian real estate agents and brokers, and 682,900 homes sold per year. However, most real estate transactions involve two agents: one for the buyer and one for the seller. Spread evenly, this means that the average real estate agent would have just over 10 homes sold or bought per year.
At $11,860 per home transaction and 10 transactions per year on average, this would give an annual commission salary of $118,600 per real estate agent. Of course, not every real estate agent will complete at least 10 transactions every year. In fact, Real Estate Magazine found that 51.3% of agents complete one or zero transactions per year, while only 10% of agents complete 10 or more transactions per year. This skews the average earnings quite a bit, as there are many real estate agents that are only able to complete a few transactions or none at all, while there are a few top real estate agents that make more than 50 transactions a year.
|Number of Agents||Total Number of Homes Sold/Year *||Transactions per Agent/Year *||Average Commission per Transaction **|
The more lucrative a real estate market is, the more competition there is from other real estate agents. This can be seen by the number of transactions per agent compared to the average commission of a transaction. Ontario has a high number of agents compared to the number of homes sold, which means that there are fewer transactions for each agent to have. This is offset by the higher average commission per transaction, helped by Ontario's high home prices. In comparison, real estate agents in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan can work on a large number of real estate transactions every year, but the commission of each is smaller.
If you’re an average real estate agent, you won’t be making over $100,000 per year easily in Canada. According to the Government of Canada's Job Bank wage report, real estate agents in Canada usually make between $24,173 and $134,783, with the median income being $46,212. That’s well below the six-digit income found above, and that’s because not all real estate agents are equal in their sales performance.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$26,325||$61,130||$205,038|
In a field where your reputation and experience can help drive sales, it can be difficult for new real estate agents to gain clients and make sales. There’s also a significant number of agents that work part-time rather than full-time, or agents that sell homes as a side job while they work full-time in another occupation.
You can be a part-time real estate agent that works on the weekends or in the evenings for example. You can work as little or as much as you'd like, but since your income is based on commission, you'll need to put in at least some effort to make money. There are costs to being a real estate agent that can make it not worth becoming a real estate agent as a side job if you don't expect your commissions to cover your costs. These costs include your license registration fee, the cost of required education and training courses, examinations, and insurance. This can cost thousands of dollars upfront. There are also costs that are recurring costs, such as renewal costs for your real estate license and real estate board membership fees for realtors.
The time it takes to get licensed can take up to a year, which means that becoming a licensed real estate agent isn't something that happens overnight. For example, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) has an annual membership fee of $310. Depending on your province, you will pay additional fees, such as if you are a member of a provincial or municipal real estate board. In Ontario, the Ontario Real Estate Association costs $115 per year, while the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has an annual fee of $859.65 for those looking to buy or sell in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
Other costs include the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) bi-annual license renewal fee of $390, and the mandatory errors and omissions insurance, consumer deposit insurance, and commission protection insurance from RECO costs $475 every year.
|Total Annual Fee||$1,954.65|
On top of paying thousands of dollars on courses to meet education requirements, Ontario real estate agents will be paying almost $2,000 every year on registration and membership fees. While an agent will only need to complete one sale or one transaction in order to recoup this annual fee, the statistics show that the majority of agents complete one or zero transactions every year.
Being a part-time real estate agent can be a safe way to enter the industry. You can try it out and see if real estate is right for you, but you still have another full-time job to fall back on. However, being a part-time agent does have some disadvantages. You might not be able to be as responsive to your clients during the day when you’re at your full-time job, which can cause you to lose sales. You might not be able to juggle the requirements that some home sellers or home buyers expect, such as prompt replies and frequent showings. It can also be more difficult for part-time real estate agents to find a real estate broker that is willing to have you on their real estate team.
Becoming a full-time real estate agent opens new doors and allows you to focus on your clients, but it will only make sense if you can expect to make a livable income. The tipping point is usually around six sales per year. If you’re able to make six or more transactions per year, then it might be worthwhile to become a full-time agent.
Generally, buyer agents make more than listing agents per transaction based on the way commissions are split. Many home sellers want to lower the cost of selling their home, which is why discount brokers might offer a lower commission for sellers, but this discount is taken out of the listing agent's commission. The buyer agent will usually still be offered their full commission rate, which will help with the sale of the home. For example, if the total commission is 5%, then the buyer’s agent might receive 2.5%, but the listing agent might accept a lower commission of 1.5%. This can help attract sellers looking for a real estate agent that wants to save on commissions, but it also doesn’t repeal away buyer agents.
However, being a buyer’s agent can take more effort than being a listing agent. When a homeowner uses a listing agent to sell their home, the listing agent will receive their commission when the home is sold. Current housing market conditions mean that home sales are quick and relatively effortless.
In comparison, a buyer’s agent will be working with buyers looking for a home for quite some time, with no guarantee that they will buy a home.
The Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) has 79,000 real estate brokers and real estate agents (salespeople) through 37 local real estate boards, such as the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board, the Mississauga Real Estate Board, the Ottawa Real Estate Board, and the REALTORS Association of Hamilton-Burlington. Real estate commissions in Ontario are usually 5%, with 2.5% going to each side of the transaction.
The average price of a home sold in Ontario in June 2021 was $857,754, with there being 26,191 sales in June 2021. In comparison, the first six months of 2021 saw 152,840 sales, for an average of 25,473 sales per month. This would give roughly 50,000 transaction opportunities for real estate agents and brokers per month.
With 79,000 registered realtors, there are about 0.66 transactions per realtor per month in Ontario. This works out to be about 8 sales or transactions per year.
With the average sold price at $857,754, a 2.5% commission would amount to $21,443, or $15,010 after splitting with their brokerage at a 30% brokerage fee. At 8 transactions a year, this would average out to $120,080. An Ontario real estate agent selling the average amount of homes at the average Ontario home price will make around $120,080 per year.
In reality, the median income of Ontario real estate agents is $45,586, with incomes being $30,085 on the lower end and $140,661 on the higher end. This higher end is the second-highest average income among the provinces in Canada, which means that top-performing real estate agents in Ontario can earn among the highest real estate agent incomes in the country. However, Ontario has the second-lowest median income among the provinces, which means that the average agent and sub-performing agents may make considerably less. The top Ontario real estate agents earn a lot, while the rest earn comparatively little.
For residential real estate agents in Ontario, 82% work full-time while 18% work part-time. Only 64% of Ontario real estate agents work for the full year, while 36% work for part of a year. 30% also consider themselves to be self-employed.
The Government of Canada rates job opportunities for real estate agents in most areas of Ontario as good, with the exception of Windsor-Sarnia, the Northeast (Sudbury, Timmins, and North Bay), and the Northwest (Thunder Bay). In these regions, job prospects are rated as fair.
The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) has 62,000 real estate agents and brokers. With 9,390 home transactions in July 2021, each agent would make 0.30 transactions per month, or 3.6 transactions a year.
The average home selling price in Toronto was $1,062,256 in June 2021, excluding regions not covered by TRREB. At a 5% commission split 50/50, each agent would make around $26,556, or $18,589 after brokerage fees.
This means that the average real estate agent salary in Toronto would be $55,767 per year if they sell 3 homes per year.
Alberta Realtors number more than 10,500, and conducted 7,378 sales in July 2021 according to the Alberta Real Estate Association with an average price of $426,036. This is slightly lower than the average monthly sales of 7,664 sales using 53,651 sales conducted in the first seven months of the year. Split equally, this would give about 17 transactions per year per Alberta real estate agent.
Alberta real estate commissions are usually 7% for the first $100,000 and 3% of the remaining. This is commonly called a 7/3 fee. At an average price of $426,036, the average commission would be $16,781. Split equally between the listing and buyer agents, each real estate agent would receive $8,390, or $5,873 after paying their brokerage’s share.
|Athabasca–Grande Prairie–Peace River||$31,668||$50,725||$143,593|
With 17 transactions per year, the average Alberta agent would make $99,841 per year. In reality, the median Alberta salary for agents is $47,398 per year, with $31,668 on the lower-end to $130,309 on the higher-end.
There were 11,070 homes sold in June 2021 with an average price of $910,445, with 23,000 BC Realtors in the province. This gives about 11 transactions per agent per year. BC real estate commissions are usually 7% on the first $100,000 and 2.5% on the remainder, for an average commission of $27,261 at the average BC home price, or $13,630 on each side. After the brokerage takes their share, real estate agents would earn about $9,541 per home sale.
At 11 transactions per year, the average real estate agent in British Columbia would make $114,492. In reality, the median real estate agent salary in BC is $54,354, the second-highest in Canada.
|Vancouver (Lower Mainland-Southwest)||$32,011||$55,549||$146,702|
The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) has 14,000 members. There were 3,326 home sales in July 2021, for about 5.70 transactions per agent per year. The average home price in Metro Vancouver was $1,175,500 in July 2021. With a commission rate of 7% on the first $100,000 and 2.5% on the remainder, the average commission per transaction after taking off 30% for brokerage fees would be $11,860. The average real estate salary in Vancouver would be $59,300 at five home sales a year or $71,160 at six home sales a year.
There were 1,715 registered salespeople, brokers, associate brokers, and branch managers in Saskatchewan in 2020 by the Saskatchewan Real Estate Commission. Of them, 1,281 were salespeople, also called real estate agents. The average Saskatchewan home price was $288,500 with 1,914 homes sold in July 2021.
There are two real estate commission methods in Saskatchewan, with it being about 7% on the first $100,000 and 2% to 3% on the remainder. If 3% on the remainder is used, then the average commission for a home sold in Saskatchewan is $12,655. Split between the buyer and seller agents, each agent would receive $6,327, or $4,428 after paying their brokerage fees.
At about 35 transactions per year per real estate agent, the average salary of a Saskatchewan real estate agent would be $154,980 per year. The actual median salary in Saskatchewan is $53,162 per year.
|Regina - Moose Mountain||$24,173||$58,381||$114,611|
|Saskatoon - Biggar||$24,173||$46,609||$104,584|
The Manitoba Real Estate Association represents 2,100 real estate professionals. Real estate commissions in Manitoba are roughly 5%. With 2,099 properties sold in June 2021 at an average sold price of $346,943, the average commission would be $17,347, or $8,673 per agent, and $6,071 after the brokerage’s split. Each real estate agent would have about 24 transactions per year. This means that the average real estate agent in Manitoba would make $145,704 per year. The actual median salary in Manitoba is $48,408 per year.
Real estate agents are called real estate brokers in Quebec and numbered at 13,000 registered by the Quebec Professional Association of Real Estate Brokers (QPAREB). There were 7,567 sales in Quebec in July 2021, for about 14 transactions per agent per year.
Quebec real estate commissions are usually 5% of the home sold price, with the average sold price in July 2021 being $370,331. This gives about $6,480 per agent after paying their brokerage share. At 14 transactions per year, the average Quebec real estate agent makes $90,720. The actual median salary is $39,562, the lowest in Canada.
The New Brunswick Real Estate Association (NBREA) represents 950 real estate agents and salespeople in the province. Real estate commissions in New Brunswick are usually 5%. 1,319 homes were sold in June 2021, for about 33 transactions per agent per year. At an average home price of $256,418, commissions per agent after brokerage fees are $4,487.
The average real estate agent in New Brunswick would make $107,688 per year, assuming 33 homes sold per year at $4,487 in commission per transaction. The actual median salary of agents in New Brunswick is $148,071. New Brunswick real estate agents have among the lowest-earning potential in Canada, with a high salary considered to be around $97,632.
Nova Scotia had 1,463 licensed salespeople and 157 real estate brokers in 2020. Nova Scotia real estate commissions are 5% of the home sold price. With 1,411 homes sold in June 2021 at an average sold price of $366,683, the average agent would make 23 transactions per year and earns $6,416 per transaction after splitting 30% to their brokerage.
The average real estate agent in Nova Scotia would make $147,568 per year. According to the Government of Nova Scotia, the median annual pay of real estate agents in the province is $24,094, with a maximum of $81,779. 81.3% of Nova Scotia real estate agents worked full-time, with 31.0% being self-employed. The average age of a Nova Scotia real estate agent is 53.4 years old, with 65.8% of agents working in Halifax.
There are 700 Realtors in Newfoundland and Labrador, with real estate commissions at around 5%. 702 homes sold in June 2021 at an average home price of $286,765. This results in around 24 transactions per agent per year, with $5,018 in commissions per transaction after paying a 30% commission to their brokerage.
The average real estate agent in Newfoundland and Labrador would make $120,432, while the actual median salary is $61,130. This median income is the highest in Canada for real estate agents, with their average upper-range income also being the highest at $205,038.
|Newfoundland and Labrador||$26,325||$61,130||$205,038|
|Avalon Peninsula (St. John’s)||$26,325||$55,743||$212,596|
Real estate agents are incentivized to sell more homes, as more transactions allow them to earn more commissions. However, home sellers won't generally be able to pay a lower commission if their listing agent is able to sell their home quickly. Listing agents are still providing the same services, such as marketing and home staging, which they would do for any other listing. It might be possible for an agent to agree to discount their selling commission if they feel like the home would be sold very quickly.
Agents have to pay for their own expenses, which can eat away at their commission earnings. This includes:
Real estate agents have to pay income tax on their commission income. How agents are taxed depends on whether they are employed by a real estate brokerage or if they are self-employed. Roughly 30% of agents in Canada are self-employed. Real estate agent commissions are taxed as personal income, rather than at the corporate income tax rate. Some provinces, such as Ontario, do not allow real estate agents to incorporate, but agents can indirectly save tax through strategies such as creating a management corporation to funnel income through.