Survival - it’s a jungle out there, the numbers showed.
Singapore has over 30,000 registered real estate agents. Relative to the volume of deals, the number of agents is ten times the volume of monthly transactions, according to the Institute of Estate Agents.
By comparison, in Australia’s New South Wales, 1,840 agents handle an average of 8,160 monthly transactions in Sydney, according to CoreLogic Inc.
Amidst cooling measures and fierce competition in a slowing property market, some property agents are going the Uber way to make ends meet in Singapore, according to a Bloomberg report.
"The market is slow because of the cooling measures. We have no choice, we have to come up with means to make ends meet," said Loh, who started out as a realtor in 2008 but turned to driving for Uber last October, to pay the bills. For Loh, his income has dwindled to an average monthly taking of S$3,000, a far cry from the up to $30,000 commission he could get in a single deal during the peak of the property market boom.
Uber is an American international transportation network company that allows consumers to book a trip for a taxi or private car via smartphones through the Uber mobile app.
Though property agents often juggle between jobs in what is a notoriously cyclical business, things don’t look so good in Singapore, where home prices fell by the most among the world’s major markets last year. After seven years of government intervention to cool prices in Asia’s second-most expensive housing market, a plunge in sales volumes is hurting real estate agents even more than price declines.
Knight Frank Global House Price Index which tracks 55 global residential markets showed that home prices in Singapore declined 4.3% in the 12 months ended Sept. 30, more than in Hong Kong, China, Japan, and Australia,
Since 2012, total property transaction volumes in Singapore have plummeted about 68% with developers managing about 7,000 new homes sales last year, according to SLP International Property Consultants.
Institute of Estate Agents is offering training courses in other jobs, such as property management to help agents cope and supplement their income.