More than a quarter of real estate agents have left the industry over the past year.
The latest figures from the Real Estate Agents Authority shows 26% of agents throughout New Zealand have either suspended their licences or let them expire since the end of May last year.
The figure equates to almost 5000 real estate agents leaving the industry.
Waikato has the biggest drop with 31% of agents opting out, followed by a 30% drop in the Bay of Plenty.
The authority's chief executive, Keith Manch, says more than 3000 people chose to suspend their licence, compared with the usual number of about 1200.
"The arrangement at the moment is that agents can suspend their licences voluntarily and some are probably taking the chance to do this while they don't think there's much business out there and focus on something else.
"The number of suspensions is much higher than has been the case in the past, so our sense is that people are waiting and seeing a little bit, but overall there's a reduction in the total numbers."
Mr Manch says there are now also higher standards of entry into the industry, which may also be a factor.