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Estate agents in UK facing severe job losses

According to the National Association of Estate Agents around 7,000 jobs have already been lost in the real estate sector in the last 15 months and they now say that 15,000 more are at risk.

The organisation expects the situation to get worse as there is no sign of any real movement in the property market.

'If you take the worst case scenario that property sales have fallen by 50%, they you would expect the industry to lose 50% of its people,' said NAEA spokesman Chris Wood.

However some predict even more job losses. The Centre for Economics and Business Research has predicted that up to a further 50,000 estate agents could lose their jobs during the coming year as the housing market continues to struggle.

Ben Read, managing economist at the Centre for Economics and Business Research, said the true extent of the job cuts would be shocking. 'Estate agents are diversifying into rentals but that can only sustain so many jobs. The housing market has deteriorating significantly since our last forecast published in June. Because of the worsening situation in the economy you could easily expect that figure of 15,000 to go up by 50%. The true figure could even be as much as 50,000,' he said.

Almost 300,000 people are employed in real estate, with the majority being estate agents. And it is not just jobs that are going, entire estate agency businesses are also being forced to shut up shop, and even major nationwide chains are closing branches, with Halifax Estate Agents announcing plans to close 53 branches earlier this year.

The construction industry is also badly affected and could see hundreds of thousands of jobs disapper. With a recession underway, new orders for the sector are already down by more than one-third from their recent high and likely to fall further over the coming months as confidence continues to slide.

The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors will urge the government on Monday to bring forward capital funding for vital projects. Jobs that could be lost include include quantity surveyors, project managers, plasterers, bricklayers and carpenters.