How women are shaping South Carolina real estate through legacy and influence

March 19, 2024

By Reah Smith
2024 President of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS®


As temperatures are increasing and interest rates are stabilizing, South Carolina’s real estate market is bracing for what’s predicted to be another dynamic year of buying and selling.

The National Association of REALTORS® recently released insights on the latest trends in home buying, emphasizing the increasing role women play in this dynamic market. The data reveals a rise in women emerging to make up the largest group of buyers and sellers next to married couples, a trend that has steadily grown since the 1970’s.

These days, women are not only making up a substantial share of buyers and sellers but also actively influencing purchasing decisions. Other changing trends in the makeup of a household include the increased instances of single homebuyers and adult children or elder parents cohabitating in the home, spurring the shift in more women buyers on the market to provide long term structure for their multigenerational families.

In South Carolina, these trends are reshaping the real estate landscape, demanding inclusive marketing and representation that reflects increasingly diverse perspectives and lifestyles. Women are not just consumers in the real estate market; they are decision-makers, influencers and business leaders in our communities. It’s not surprising that in an industry being increasingly shaped by women, the majority of REALTORS® are also women, 58% in South Carolina to be exact.

The South Carolina REALTORS® recognizes that responding to this shift is paramount to building stronger connections with women homebuyers. This change in the market presents an opportunity for the top women working in real estate across the state to showcase their expertise and insights to meet the needs of a growing target audience.

In fact, women were barred admission to many local REALTOR® associations and were restricted from participating in most local boards until 1950. The first woman to join NAR was Seattle Broker, Corrine Simpson, who was accepted by her local board in 1910, but she was an exception to the norms of her day. Reba Thompson became President of South Carolina Association of REALTORS® in 1983, and she paved the way for nine more trailblazing South Carolina leaders, including the first National Association of REALTORS® woman president, Dorcas Browning who was sworn in as president in 1992 – nearly 82 years after Simpson joined in 1910.

I’m proud to serve in 2024 as the President of the South Carolina REALTORS® on the shoulders of legends that paved the way before me: Lorraine Harding 1992, Jeannine Kees 1995, Donna Smith 2000, Nell Postell 2002, Fritzi Barbour 2015, Laura Derrick 2018, and Cindy Creamer 2022. The tradition of strong leadership will continue on into the future with the association’s first African American woman President, Keon Aldrich taking the helm in 2025.

These trailblazers created new opportunities for growth and professionalism in the industry, overcoming challenges and demonstrating through their actions what it means to be the strong leader that the day required. Drawing inspiration from the rich history of our vibrant state’s women leaders, the South Carolina REALTORS® is celebrating these achievements, and the lasting impact that remarkable women leaders have made. Earlier this month, the association celebrated the many contributions of modern women in real estate at the RISE Women’s Conference. There, over 200 women leaders gathered to hear from top national speakers and to celebrate the meaning of RISE – Reaching, Inspiring, Supporting and Empowering women in real estate.

Whether or not it’s time to celebrate Women’s History Month, let us reflect on the groundbreaking achievements of women in South Carolina’s real estate history throughout the year. By honoring their legacy and understanding the evolving consumer needs, we pave the way for thriving communities in our great state.


Reah Smith is the 2024 President of the South Carolina Association of REALTORS® and has been a full-time real estate professional at Lake Keowee Real Estate and REALTOR® member since 2013.