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Singapore real estate agents pessimistic about 2012

Wong Heang Fine, president of the Real Estate Developer’s Association of Singapore, said concerns exist

because of the global economic outlook.

‘We are cautious. On the market going forward, it all depends on how the global economy goes in the next

eleven months. So it’s really anybody’s guess,’ he said.

Prices of private residential properties have been falling moderately for the last few months and rentals are

also tapering off.

While home sales in January are expected to be high, REDAS is warning that the figures do not indicate how

the rest of the market will perform this year. ‘January figures are generated by the new launches of two or

three projects. So the numbers itself does not really reflect the entire state of the market,’ explained


Png Poh Soon, director of research at Knight Frank, believes that the additional buyer’s stamp duty had some

impact on buyer sentiment.
Figures also show that the number of property agents registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA)

has fallen by nearly 11% since new rules were introduced a year ago.

As of the start of the year there were about 30,600 real estate agents licensed to practice, down from 34,300

last January. There are also fewer property agencies in business, down by 5% to less than 1,500.

The estate agency watchdog said property agents who did not continue with their registration were part timers

who opted to focus on their full time jobs, or had found a full time job. CEA added that of the 2,700 new

agents who joined the industry last year, eight in 10 have tertiary education. Currently, only five in 10

existing agents have tertiary education.

Apart from passing a mandatory examination, registered property agents also have to undergo six hours of

compulsory professional development course to keep abreast of policy changes.

Some industry players said new agents face a tough time juggling this and closing property deals.

‘In the real estate industry, the first year is a very tough and important year. For any new agent who joins

the industry, you have to go for courses, you go for exams,’ said PropNex director David Poh.

‘Then you go for further training, prospect for clients, and buy and sell for clients. And many times, your

first deal will come six or nine months down the road. For many agents, you probably won’t see any income

until about a year later. So it is quite common for agents to leave within the first year,’ he explained.