The slowdown in the property market is starting to hurt the earnings of property agents, with some being warned they risk losing their jobs. Centaline Property Agency executive director Louis Chan Wing-kit said it had issued warning letters to more than 600 agents who failed to meet sales targets, telling them they could be sacked. He said about 200 warning letters had been issued after a previous round of appraisals early this year. But agents expect stronger market fundamentals to keep any layoffs below levels seen in 2005, when more than 1,000 agents were fired. Midland Realty and two smaller major players - Ricacorp Properties and Hong Kong Property - said they had no immediate layoff plans. Ricacorp managing director Willy Liu Wai-keung said about 20 agents had resigned this month, which was about average for the past six months. He said no replacements would be hired due to the cloudy market outlook. Both Midland and Ricacorp said they would closely monitor the market this quarter before deciding on layoffs or the closure of outlets. The downturn in the stock market has hurt investment sentiment. While property owners are standing firm on their asking prices, home-seekers are adopting a wait-and-see attitude, dragging down the market. 'Commissions in June dropped 50 per cent compared with May, or 30 per cent lower than the monthly average in the past 12 months,' Mr Chan said. 'July is expected to drop by at least 10 per cent again.' Centaline Property expects sale and purchase agreements for this month, which reflect property transactions last month, will total 9,000, valued at HK$33 billion. This is down from 11,876 and HK$57.48 billion in the previous month. Hong Kong Property chief executive Fredy Wu said it was relatively resilient in the choppy market because of its smaller scale. 'We have no layoff plan and will even add four outlets in the coming two months in strategic locations to increase our market share,' he said. At the end of last month there were 22,865 salespersons or estate agents' licence holders, the highest number since 1999 when the Estate Agents Authority was established.