Exodus of property agents

A significant number of property agents left the industry after March 2012 due to shrinking profits and higher marketing costs, according to media reports citing data from the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA) and property experts.

Although 5,245 new agents joined the industry between October 2010 and March 2012, the overall number of salespersons after that period rose by merely 1,213, said SLP International’s Executive Director Nicholas Mak. This means 4,032 people left the property industry after March 2012.

“This could be due to the poorer sentiments in the real estate market from 2013 onwards,” he noted, adding that some property agents are currently earning less money compared to the market’s heydays from H2 2009 to H1 2013.

“From mid-2013 to now, the transaction volume had fallen drastically, even though the price decline was fairly gradual. For example, in 2010, the total transactions volume in the private residential property market was about $63.2 billion. In H1 2014, it was only $11.1 billion,” Mak explained.

Another reason for the exodus is the higher marketing costs, said Eric Tng from ECG Property.

“It is taking a longer time to close a sale and more money has to be spent on advertising. I know of some resale or rental cases which the marketing costs reached 60 percent of the commission which typically should not exceed 30 percent in good times,” he added.

Meanwhile, ERA Realty Network still reigns as Singapore’s largest property agency based on the number of real estate agents with 5,911 agents, followed by PropNex Realty with 5,685 salespersons, based on CEA’s figures as of September 2014.


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