A newly formed joint venture property firm is offering incentives to agents in the market downturn as it moves to focus on the plush Districts 9, 10 and 11 and Sentosa Cove.
The new firm, Global Alliance Property (GA Property), is a tie-up between Global Property Strategic Alliance (GPSA) and More Property - and, in turn, is being acquired by Singapore-listed Asia-Pacific Strategic Investments (Apsil).
On Monday, Mr Shawn Tan, GA Property chief executive and key executive officer, rolled out a series of incentives in his bid to retain the new entity's 800 property agents - and attract more.
GPSA, a wholly owned unit of Australian-listed GPS Alliance, holds 51 per cent of GA Property while More Property owns the rest.
At the company's launch at The Esplanade, Mr Tan, 39, said he would be forming a team of about 20 property agents and the firm would be injecting funds to help the team penetrate wealthy investors interested in buying in the central and Sentosa Cove regions.
The funds could be used to pay for advertising of properties, which could easily come up to $20,000 for three or four properties, Mr Tan told The Straits Times.
"We understand that such costs can be a huge burden for property agents during this downtime and our aim is to help reduce costs for the team so that they can perform better," he said.
Mr Tan said the plan is in line with Apsil's vision for the firm.
In July, Apsil proposed to acquire GA Property for $2.75 million in cash and shares - a deal that is pending the in-principle approval of the Singapore Exchange.
"Real estate is cyclical by nature. We are at a very low point now as a result of the current cooling measures. I believe the cooling measures will slowly and ultimately be removed and we are bracing ourselves and preparing for it," said Mr Tan.
"There are already some signs of the market recovering. Buyer viewerships have increased and new show-flat launches are also seeing higher sale transactions."
However, SRX Property's latest figures showed resale prices of units in the central region fell 6.2 per cent compared with a year ago .
The total dollar market values for District 9, District 10 and Sentosa have also dropped from January to last month, except for a slight increase of 0.2 per cent for District 11, said its spokesman.
The total dollar market value for each district is based on a computer-generated value of transacted homes in the area.
SLP International executive director Nicholas Mak said the prime districts (Core Central Region) picked up first during the market boom in 2005 to 2008.
Mr Mak said that he is "not totally writing off" the Core Central Region and believes "it will come into play again". He added that one would need to have the "patience and strategy" to carry through and it is not something that will yield results in just a few months.
Mr Tan said he would be leveraging on Apsil's online property portal with China Real Estate Development Union Group and Oei Hong Leong Foundation, and Apsil's 150-odd Century 21 retail shops in Hong Kong and Macau, to reach out to Chinese investors.
He added: "We would like to reach out to affluent buyers through these two platforms, where Singapore's prime homes will be one of their focus."
Mr Tan said the company would also implement a loyalty programme by offering cash incentives to reward property agents who stay with the company. He intends to propose to give 50,000 company shares to property agents who have been in service for more than a year with either More Property or GPSA. Those with less than one year of service would get 25,000 shares.
And for every subsequent year of service, property agents could be rewarded with 5,000 shares each.
Mr Tan said property agents who earn at least $30,000 in commission a year, could be getting a bonus of $3,000 at the end of 2017, when they can start cashing out their shares.