Buying guide

How much do real estate agents make in NZ?

Being a real estate agent can be a lucrative career, but not always.

Last updated: 24 January 2024

We’ve all seen real estate agents driving expensive cars, with their names and faces on for sale signs all over our towns and cities. And many of us have wondered - how much do real estate agents earn in NZ?

There are 16,668 entities and people licensed to sell real estate in New Zealand, all earning different amounts, according to the Real Estate Authority. Let’s take a closer look. 

Average income of a real estate agent in NZ

The average salary for a real estate agent in New Zealand is $99,785, according to data from Seek. Assuming a real estate agent works a 40 hour week and 50 weeks a year, that’s just under $50 an hour (but most real estate agents would probably say they work longer than 40 hours a week!)

Of course, not all real estate agents earn the same amount. In fact, some earn far less and some earn far more (even into the millions of dollars) depending on how many homes they sell.

How are real estate agents paid in NZ?

Real estate agents in Aotearoa New Zealand are almost always paid by commission instead of salary. That means they’ll earn a percentage of each sale, paid by the sellers or vendors of the property once the sale is completed.

Barfoot and Thompson, one of Auckland’s largest real estate companies, uses this commission structure - 3.95% of the first $300,000 and 2% of the rest. They have a minimum commission rate of $11,000 + GST.

Real estate agents usually do not earn the entire commission (except for those who work for themselves). Instead they’ll be paid around 55 percent to 70 percent of the commission, with the rest going to their real estate agency. Real estate agents who’ve made more sales throughout the year may earn a higher percentage of the total commission.

What this means is that if a real estate agent doesn’t sell any houses they get nothing at all.

A real estate agent only gets paid if they sell properties.

How much do real estate agents earn per sale in NZ?

Real estate agents may get nothing if they don’t sell any houses, but they do get quite a lot if they manage to sell a home.

For example, let’s say an agent using the above commission structure sells a property at the national average asking price of $864,650. The total commission will be $23,143. The agent may get anywhere from $12,729 to $16,200 (depending on what percentage of the total commission their agency is paying them).

To earn over the average salary for a real estate agent they’d need to sell eight houses, or fewer if they’re earning more than 55% of the commission. If an agent sold just a house a month they’d be earning well over $150,000, which is around double the average salary in NZ.

What other costs do home sellers incur and can I negotiate commission?

When selling a property, sellers incur other costs on top of the real estate agent’s commission. This may include an administration fee of up to $500, marketing costs of $2,000 to $5,000 to help promote the property, as well as lawyer’s fees.

Before you sign the agency agreement it’s a great idea to try to negotiate the commission down. Some agents will be more open to this than others but it’s worth a try. When negotiating, explain to the agent that you’ve spoken to other agents and you haven’t made a decision yet.

Next ask for a reduction in commission - you might be surprised how much the agent will agree to, especially if there’s a lack of listings available. Another option is to negotiate free marketing in the event of a successful sale, which will save you several thousands of dollars.

*We hope this article has provided some helpful information. It's based on our experience and is not intended as a complete guide. Of course, it doesn’t consider your individual needs or situation and it is not financial advice.Be sure to speak with an advisor if necessary.


Ben Tutty
Ben Tutty

Ben Tutty is a regular contributor for Trade Me and he's also contributed to Stuff and the Informed Investor. He's got 10+ years experience as both a journalist and website copywriter, specialising in real estate, finance and tourism. Ben lives in Wānaka with his partner and his best mate (Finnegan the whippet).