Less new blood joining property industry

Fewer people are willing to become real estate agents given the weak transaction levels in Singapore’s HDB and private housing markets, according to media reports.

In 2013, HDB resale deals plummeted to a historic low of 18,100. But this year’s figure is expected to be lower than that, as there were only 12,683 transactions in the first nine months of 2014.

As for the private residential market, sales barely reached 10,000 in the first three quarters — a figure is roughly equivalent to the quarterly average in 2012.

Given the weak sales, the number of new property agents declined to 3,061 in the last fiscal year compared to 4,289 a year ago, revealed the Council for Estate Agencies’ (CEA) latest report last week.

Moreover, many estate agents have sought alternative sources of income as commissions from selling houses have been hit by weak transaction levels.

For example, 28-year-old Nicholas Chia decided to establish a car-polishing business and a franchise of a pre-school enrichment centre in Q1 2014.

“Because of the slow market, I need something to supplement my income and something in which I can tap the network I’ve made,” said Chia, who has been a property agent since 2010.

Setting up a car-grooming business was an innate choice, he explained. “Almost every property agent has a car, and image is important when they meet clients.”

Other agents turned to multi-level marketing or driving a taxi, noted Dennis Wee Realty agent Aaron Lin.

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