Rental Market

Real Estate Billions: Where the Money Goes


The real estate industry is a huge business which involves big spending and generates billions of dollars in revenue. But how much is a lot these days, and how do the sums encountered in real estate compare to those in other business sectors? RENTCafe has looked into the billions game and compiled an infographic showing the cost of everything, from the US’s outstanding residential mortgage debt ($9,900B) to residential real estate agents’ commissions ($65B), and Oprah Winfrey’s net worth ($3B).

It’s no secret that it takes money to make money, but how much exactly for getting real estate sold? Total U.S. ad spending amounted to $180 billion last year, with $16 billion spent on online real estate marketing alone. Think this is mind-boggling? Wait till you see these other figures.

  • The net worth of the 400 richest people in the U.S. is enough to buy all the homes in the L.A. metro area
  • Facebook acquired WhatsApp for a little more than the total U.S. mobile ad spending
  • Outstanding residential mortgage in the U.S. represents 37% of the value of all existing homes; in Canada, outstanding residential mortgage stands at 27% while in the UK it is about 16% of the total home values
  • NYC real estate sales are approximately the same as sales of U.S. homes to foreign buyers

Check out more facts and connections in this cool visualization of real estate billions:

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Real estate billions: expenses, income, market values, advertising
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*Disclaimer: To compile this infographic, RENTCafe has collected data from several public sources and media reports, including the Federal Reserve, the National Association of REALTORS®, eMarketer, and others. Click here for the complete list of resources. This infographic has been produced for information purposes only and should not be considered as investment advice. Some numbers were rounded, estimated, and adapted to allow visualization.

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About the author

Amalia Otet

Amalia Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for PropertyShark. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time.


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  • A very informative post. By just looking and examining the infographic, we can tell that the real estate business is doing good in any part of the world. And it will continue to grow as years pass by.