Why are property agents increasing in Singapore despite slower home sales?
SINGAPORE: Despite facing headwinds in the property market, the number of property agents in Singapore continues to rise in the real estate sector, according to data from the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA), The Straits Times reports on Monday, Jan 15.
As of Jan 1, 2024, there were 35,251 property agents, marking a modest rise from 34,427 at the beginning of 2023 and 32,414 in 2022.
PropNex retained its position as the largest agency, boasting a sales force of 12,017 agents as of Jan 10, reflecting a 3% increase from the previous year.
ERA secured the second spot with 8,918 agents, followed by Huttons Asia with 5,310 agents.
OrangeTee & Tie, which fell out of the top three in 2022, reported a decline of approximately 11% in its sales force headcount, making it the only agency among the top five to experience a decrease.
Meanwhile, Huttons recorded the highest growth, with a close to 9% increase.
In 2023, 2,170 new property agents joined the sector, slightly fewer than the 2,179 in 2022 and 2,308 in 2021. Despite the challenges in the industry, 96% of property agents renewed their registrations for 2024, according to a CEA spokeswoman.
The real estate market faced a 15% drop in private home sales in 2023, reaching the lowest levels since 2016, and a slower growth rate of 6.7% in private home prices compared to 8.6% in 2022.
Amidst the changing landscape, top agencies witnessed significant shifts in their senior management. OrangeTee & Tie appointed Justin Quek as its new CEO, while former ERA Singapore COO Thomas Tan joined SRI as the CEO.
PropNex revealed a new leadership masterplan, appointing Kelvin Fong as deputy CEO and Eddie Lim as chief agency officer.
Despite the challenges, the influx of new agents can be attributed to the dynamic and fast-paced nature of the profession, resonating particularly with younger individuals.
ERA Singapore CEO Eugene Lim highlighted the consistent influx of new home buyers and upgraders as a driving force for a growing sales force.
PropNex’s executive chairman and CEO, Ismail Gafoor, acknowledged market challenges in 2023, emphasising the need for guidance and direction for the sales force to improve productivity. Gafoor stated:
“Our focus in 2024 is to grow our market share by expanding our team of salespersons and enhancing operational productivity by leveraging technology development and training programmes.”
OrangeTee & Tie acknowledged the impact of the external business landscape on its 2023 performance, citing market volatility and policy changes.
The agency looks towards 2024 with a focus to “stay ahead of the curve” through senior management changes and adapting to technological advancements.
Huttons Asia’s CEO, Mark Yip, highlighted the evolving role of property agents in 2024, emphasising the increased use of digital tools for customer relationship management, data analytics, and marketing channels.
He said, “Agents will need to rely more on data to gain insights into market trends, buyer and seller preferences, to provide valuable advice to clients and help them make more informed decisions. “
Property agents may become involved in more international transactions as the real estate landscape evolves.
Huttons has already marketed properties in eight countries: Japan, Australia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia. /TISG