SINGAPORE – Fewer people are signing up as property agents, as the industry continues to take a hit from the spate of cooling measures that have brought down housing prices.
The number of entrants in the industry last year dropped about 27 per cent to 3,336, from 4,567 in 2012.
More agents are also exiting the industry. A total of 3,382 agents – about 11 per cent of the overall total – left the industry last year, compared to 2,996 the year before.
However, the total number of property agents has stayed consistent at around 31,000 over the past three years.
The Council for Estate Agencies, which released the figures yesterday, said “not everyone will be suitable or would be prepared to enter the industry”.
This is because the regulatory framework established in the past three years require property agents to be more professional.
Consultants said fewer people are keen to enter the industry, as housing deals dry up after a raft of market curbs introduced in the past few years have led to a fall in both public and private housing prices.
Public housing prices slid for two straight quarters for the first time since 2005 in the fourth quarter of last year. Prices in the suburban private home market dropped in the same period for the first time since 2009.
SLP International research head Nicholas Mak said the reduction in transaction volume has also shrunk the pie for property agents.
For example, the number of private homes sold by developers plunged from a record 22,200 in 2012 to below 16,000 last year.
But consultants also pointed out that the real estate industry is seasonal in nature, with more agents entering than exiting it during boom periods, and vice versa during downturns.
As market conditions become more challenging, consultants said consumers have the bargaining power.
“They can afford to be more choosy as there are more agents (chasing fewer deals) to serve their needs,” said PropNex Realty chief executive Mohamed Ismail.