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Residential real estate prices and rental rates have been falling off in Singapore of the last few months, and experts believe it is a sign of things to come in 2012. Analysts at the Real Estate Developer’s Association of Singapore are forecasting a dismal performance in the coming year due to mounting pressure stemming from the global economic crisis. New rules for licensed real estate agents in the country are also making things difficult, and the Council for Estate Agencies reports there are 11% fewer agents than when the rules were introduced a year ago. For more on this continue reading the following article from Property Wire.

Property developers in Singapore say that they are pessimistic about the outlook for the real estate market in 2012 as some analysts forecast a 5 to 10% drop in property prices this year.

Wong Heang Fine, president of the Real Estate Developer’s Association of Singapore, said concerns exist because of the global economic outlook. ‘We are cautious. On the market going forward, it all depends on how the global economy goes in the next eleven months. So it’s really anybody’s guess,’ he said. Prices of private residential properties have been falling moderately for the last few months and rentals are also tapering off. While home sales in January are expected to be high, REDAS is warning that the figures do not indicate how the rest of the market will perform this year. ‘January figures are generated by the new launches of two or three projects. So the numbers itself does not really reflect the entire state of the market,’ explained Fine.

Png Poh Soon, director of research at Knight Frank, believes that the additional buyer’s stamp duty had some impact on buyer sentiment. Figures also show that the number of property agents registered with the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) has fallen by nearly 11% since new rules were introduced a year ago. As of the start of the year there were about 30,600 real estate agents licensed to practice, down from 34,300 last January. There are also fewer property agencies in business, down by 5% to less than 1,500.

The estate agency watchdog said property agents who did not continue with their registration were part timers who opted to focus on their full time jobs, or had found a full time job. CEA added that of the 2,700 new agents who joined the industry last year, eight in 10 have tertiary education. Currently, only five in 10 existing agents have tertiary education.

Apart from passing a mandatory examination, registered property agents also have to undergo six hours of compulsory professional development course to keep abreast of policy changes. Some industry players said new agents face a tough time juggling this and closing property deals. ‘In the real estate industry, the first year is a very tough and important year. For any new agent who joins the industry, you have to go for courses, you go for exams,’ said PropNex director David Poh. ‘Then you go for further training, prospect for clients, and buy and sell for clients. And many times, your first deal will come six or nine months down the road. For many agents, you probably won’t see any income until about a year later. So it is quite common for agents to leave within the first year,’ he explained.

This article was republished with permission from Property Wire.