Paulina Torres, research analyst with JLL. | Courtesy JLL

Orange County is a Booming Market for Women in Real Estate

Carrie Rossenfeld People

Real estate ranks fourth in the top women-owned industries in Orange County, according to recent research by JLL Research, Hoovers, and NCES, setting the stage for more women to be successful in this industry than in many other regions.

It starts with the local universities. The research shows that at all three of Orange County’s top universities, females account for the majority of the total undergraduate enrolled populations, with Cal State Fullerton and Chapman gender distributions at above the national average.

Also, with major OC-headquartered companies like BLB Resources Inc., Technologent, and Northstar Technology Corp., the industries where female executive leadership is most frequent are consulting services, wholesale sector, and information-technology services.

In addition, JLL has again been named one of the NAFE Top Companies for Executive Women, with a female representation at the firm outpacing the external commercial real estate job market by well over 50 percent. SoCal Real Estate spoke with Paulina Torres, a research analyst with JLL, about how Orange County compares to other regions regarding women in real estate, why the market is so strong for women, and what more the region could do to draw women into it.

SoCal Real Estate: How does Orange County stack up against other regions when it comes to women in real estate?
Torres: Orange County is actually a booming market for women in real estate. Among major U.S. regions, OC stands in the top-three regions with the greatest number of women-led real estate companies, according to data from Hoovers. Moreover, only the New York region contains a greater number of women-led companies, while L.A. and OC are tied for second. Once you take the immense populations of those two regions into account, OC excels as a market for real estate where women thrive.

What policies or actions make this market a strong one for women in real estate?
According to the most recent statistics released by the National Association of Realtors, the most typical realtor is a 53-year-old female who attended college. Orange County has a largely educated population, and the fact that women accounted for more than half of the graduating classes at Orange County’s top universities, it is no surprise that this is a strong market for women in real estate. Moreover, there are various women real estate networks and groups like Women’s Real Estate Network and CREW Network Orange County that exist in the region and are accelerating female activity in the industry.

What more could the region do to bring women into the industry?
Unsurprisingly, it starts with education and entrepreneurship. Active networking at local universities by professionals in the industry is definitely a key to attracting more females to the sector. Additionally, various studies have proved that women still earn consistently less than men performing similar jobs across industry sectors. Thus, a further focus should not only be to attract women to real estate but also to help them develop as leaders in real estate.

Which other markets in Southern California have a high number of women in real estate?
As previously stated, Los Angeles and Orange County are two of the top three markets for women in real estate, according to the data. However, in Los Angeles, the real estate industry holds the seventh slot for top women-owned sectors, while it holds the fourth slot in Orange County. The wholesale sector, clothing stores, and education are the top three industries for female leadership activity in Los Angeles, while Orange County’s top industries are more related to professional services.