When the housing bubble burst and the recession hit, real estate became an industry to exit, and exit quickly. Home values may not have fully recovered, but those assigning those values are making a comeback. The real estate appraisal industry grew a modest 1.6 percent since 2008, but IBISWorld expects a 5.2 percent growth in industry revenue for each of the next five years. With the improving market and new, more rigorous certification requirements for appraisers in effect, real estate appraisal is an industry in evolution.

The Appraisal Institute, the nation's largest professional association of real estate appraisers, reports that the number of active real estate appraisers declined by 8,000, or 8 percent, from 2007 to 2010. This exodus represents the recent difficulties in this industry, as well as its aging demographics. The majority of current appraisers are older than 50; only 12 percent are under 35. The prospects for newcomers look promising.

"There are opportunities for those who want to enter the field now and are willing to go through the certification process," says Joe Magdziarz, the institute's president. "Those are the people who will be the long-term winners."

Growth in other related industries reported by IBISWorld add further optimism to prospects of both residential and commercial real estate appraisal. Revenues for single-family home building and real estate asset management and consulting in the U.S. are expected to grow 16 percent and 6.8 percent through 2016, respectively.

"Someone is going to need to value those asset," says Burton Lee, member of the Appraisal Institute and a VanEd Appraisal School instructor. "Demand for our services is going to be stable to increasing, and the number of people who are trained and competent is not going to be adequate in a relatively short period into the future." 

By the Numbers:

1.6% Expected annual revenue growth for industry from 2008 through 2011
5.2 Projected percentage annual revenue growth for industry from 2011 through 2016
7.1% Rate by which employment in the industry will grow annually, as estimated by IBISWorld, through 2016
1.4 Average employees per business in the industry, according to IBISWorld
16 Projected percentage annual revenue growth in single-family home building in the United States from 2011 through 2016