Singapore sees exodus of property agents

Romesh Navaratnarajah18 Jun 2015

property agent

Singapore’s sluggish property market saw over 2,000 property agents leaving major real estate agencies during the first three months of 2015, as shown in industry data published in the media.

Notably, there were 23,947 agents as at 1 April, down eight percent from the 26,014 agents towards end-2014. The latest labour market report from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) showed that the number of people employed in the real estate sector fell by 1,900 between January and March, compared with Q4 2014.

“When the market is going through a lull period, it is only logical that some will seek temporary income-generating jobs or alternatives. Many have in fact left the industry because of poor income,” said Institute of Estate Agents (IEA) president Jeff Foo.

Among those who left was Brian Chan, who opted to take a break to continue his studies. “It used to be that we could close rentals very quickly. Then things started slowing down and the process could go on for months. It’s even worse for sales. It’s become very competitive because agents have to earn a living, and there are so many agents around,” said the 31-year old former agent.

Singapore’s biggest agency. ERA Realty Network saw its number of agents fall to 5,866 at the start of April, from 6,132 towards the end of 2014. Nonetheless, the agency managed to bring its numbers up to over 6,000 this month, said Eugene Lim, key executive officer of ERA. Lim noted that having a bigger team of agents could help put the agency in a better position to pitch for marketing assignments with property developers.

Meanwhile, Savills Residential bucked the trend when it posted an increase in its number of agents, from 739 to 781 in Q1. In fact, the agency has raised this number to almost 800 now. According to George Tan, senior director and head of Savills Associates, the increase was primarily due to the firm’s initiatives, like conducting training for its agents, as well as providing good administrative support and ample project marketing activities.


Cheryl Marie Tay, Senior Journalist at PropertyGuru, edited this story. To contact her about this or other stories email


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