RETS Associates Announces 2018 Commercial Real Estate Financial Analyst Survey Results

RETS Associates, a leading national real estate recruiting firm, has completed its 7th Annual Survey of Real Estate Financial Analysts in association with Charles Schilke, JD, Director of the Edward St. John Real Estate Program at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School. Over 200 financial analysts from across the nation with experience encompassing entry-level through five-to-seven years were polled on their salary, education, willingness to relocate and other applicable, work-related factors.

Its interesting to note that among our respondents, 69 percent have actively pursued a new job or position, either with their current employer or another firm, in the last year, said Kent Elliott, principal at RETS Associates. This marks a 9 percent jump from the previous survey and probably is connected to the falling unemployment levels weve noted in that timeframe. Clearly, analysts perceive and are reacting to these market dynamics.

This year, RETS survey findings presented a 180-degree shift in compensation for analysts with undergraduate degrees versus those holding graduate degrees. In 2017, the undergrads were big winners, but this year those who had earned MS/MBA degrees took home higher net salaries (i.e., base salary plus incentives.) Over a three-year period, analysts with graduate degrees showed a 30.8 percent wage increase, while those with a bachelors degree rose by only 19 percent.

Regional wage disparities show that junior or senior analysts can expect to earn more in the Pacific Northwest and the Northeastern regions, which posted income growth of 30.5 percent and 29.5 percent, respectively. Averages in the Northwest may be driven by the greater Seattle area, which has seen rising demand due to aggressive expansion and development by Amazon, Microsoft, Google and other tech companies.

Analysts at all levels look at compensation package, growth potential and geographical location when considering a job offer. However, in a change from previous years, junior analysts place equal value on compensation and growth potential, while senior associates and director-level specialists are more interested in geographical location. Other factors job candidates consider include the office culture, brand name of the firm and job title.


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What real estate products interest analysts most? The 2018 findings mark a return to a trend seen three years ago, with mixed-use portfolios appealing to 60 percent, and multifamily attracting 20 percent of analysts. However, specialists with three to five years experience are more interested in office (41 percent) and mixed portfolio (20 percent).

When asked to rank their specific focus in continuing a career within the real estate industry, 48 percent opted for acquisitions, while 21 percent selected development and 17 percent asset management, followed by 8 percent for finance, 4 percent for consulting and 2 percent for brokerage.

With the tight job market and continued demand for analysts, companies should be prepared to offer attractive compensation packages and growth potential to candidates and then be ready to move with an offer when the right person is identified, Elliott concludes. Its a competitive field, so skilled analysts will continue to be sought after and rewarded in the real estate industry.

About RETS Associates

Founded in 2002, RETS Associates is a premier executive search firm specializing in the recruitment, staffing and placement of interim, permanent and executive positions in the commercial and residential real estate industries, as well as land development and home building. RETS Associates clients include REITs, developers, investors, pension fund advisors, operating companies and real estate services firms doing business in property management, development, construction, investments and financial analysis. For more information on RETS Associates, please visit

Angelyssa Granillo
[email protected]