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The New York Times today looks at attrition in the ranks of real estate agents in a cooling national housing market. And the first guy the story mentions is from here:

Even when Leon Maldonado was getting his real estate license three years ago, he saw that the red-hot housing market in San Diego was beginning to cool. But he decided to forge ahead.

For a while, optimism kept him going, but after few sales and fewer prospects, Mr. Maldonado finally gave up this year.

“When I tell people I got out, everyone understands,” said Mr. Maldonado, 24, who now collects a steady paycheck, from a health care staffing company. “It’s the best decision I ever made.”

The Times has a couple of graphs showing the shift in California. These numbers are quite telling:

The number of people taking the real estate sales exam in California soared from a little more than 2,000 a month in the late 1990s to a peak of nearly 20,000 in April 2005, according to the California Department of Real Estate. But by July 2007, the number had dropped to 8,000. Similar patterns are seen in other states.

The trend has certainly changed from when my colleague and predecessor on this beat, Will Carless, wrote this story, “Attack of the Realtors,” in December 2005.

KELLY BENNETT

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