Number of new real estate agents fell by more than half last year amid slow property market

 A 99-year leasehold site in Toa Payoh Lorong 6.
A 99-year leasehold site in Toa Payoh Lorong 6. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

SINGAPORE - With housing prices continuing to fall and transaction volumes still low, only 1,299 new property agents entered the industry last year - less than half of the 3,006 who joined in 2014.

As at Jan 1 this year, after the latest annual licence renewal exercise, there are 29,262 "registered salespersons" or property agents in the industry, according to latest figures from the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) on Thursday (Jan 21).

This is down from 30,830 at the start of last year, and 31,783 in 2014.

Commenting on the fall, the Council's director of policy and licensing, Mr Heng Whoo Kiat, said: "This could be a reflection of the property market sentiments."

Property agents are probably mindful of the cost of being in the industry, he added.

Under the CEA's regulatory framework, agents need to have at least six credit hours of continuing professional development training each year in order to renew their registration.

New entrants have to complete a course and pass an examination to qualify.

Nonetheless, slightly fewer people decided to let their registration lapse in the latest renewal exercise.

There were 3,573 who left the industry, compared to 3,959 who did not renew their registration last year.

The number of real estate agencies stayed stable at 1,369 even though 104 had left the industry, implying that the same number of new firms were licensed.