Property agent ranks grow 27pc

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 July, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 July, 2010, 12:00am

The ranks of the city's property agents rose 27 per cent last year, lifted by a vibrant property market, and the industry watchdog expects the sector to remain active.

The Estate Agents Authority said yesterday that the number of individual licensees, including estate agents and salesmen increased to a record 29,335 people as of June 30, up from 23,074 a year earlier.

'It's been a vibrant year for the property market,' Vivien Chan, who chairs the Estate Agents Authority, said.

The number of qualifying examination candidates also climbed about 20 per cent, which suggests that the number of licensees would remain high, she said.

The authority does not know the number of agents during the 1997 property boom because a licensing regime was put in place only in 1999.

But a rising trend in the number of agents is clear, with about 14,000 from 1999 to 2005, and 22,000 from 2006 to 2009.

A Centaline estate agent based in Tsim Sha Tsui said there were many agents when he entered the industry four years ago, but now there 'seem to be too many'. 'Competition used to be already high, and it's now even higher. The solution is to work longer hours to have a higher chance to meet clients.'

The number of licensed companies also reached a new high of 2,177, up from 1,742 a year ago.

There were 282 complaints against agents in the first half of the year, down 13 per cent from the same period last year. Most complaints were about agents' failure to sign an estate agency agreement with clients, or their lack of explanation of details.

Chan criticised the actions of some agents in relation to the acquisition of old buildings, which had increased since new legislation in April made it easier to complete acquisitions. She said it was unacceptable but did not elaborate.

Through the roof

The vibrant property market has created jobs in the industry

The number of property agents in Hong Kong as of June 30: 29,335