The number of real estate agents could decline significantly, as the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) now requires those who are holding other jobs to secure their employer's consent first, before becoming agents.
Several industry watchers said the new rule could result in a drop in property agents by up to 15 percent when the time comes to renew their licences next year.
Purnima Shantilal, Director of Licensing and Investigations at CEA, said the new rule was imposed as part of a regular review to increase professionalism.
“The question was included to allow CEA to gather a more comprehensive profile of the industry. Existing salespersons will be required to make the same declaration during the renewal of their registration status,” she said.
Lim Yong Hock, Senior Vice-President at PropNex, said his staff only learned of the new rule after they applied for licences for new agents.
“Typically, agents do not need to declare to the property agency if they have other work commitments. It's fine, as long as they are able to do the job,” he noted.
Imposed in early January, the new rule requires applicants to declare if they are holding another job while being a property agent. If so, they need to submit a letter of approval from their employer along with their employment details.
Lim said the new requirement will likely lead to some potential agents backing out.
“Overall, the net effect on the industry could be a reduction of between 10 and 15 percent by next year, as there is a substantial number of people doing this to supplement their income without their employer's knowledge,” he added.