By Xolile Bhengu
The number of registered real estate agents has dropped to less than 47000 from close to 80000 a year ago.
The Estate Agency Affairs Board said yesterday that some agents had opted not to renew their annual membership, fearing that they might not make ends meet because of the property market slowdown.
The regulatory body said licensed membership had dropped from 76470 last year to 46335 currently.
Lindiwe Bulo, the board’s compliance executive manager, said it was not uncommon for agents to pull out if they felt they would struggle in the commission- based industry.
Bulo said agent commissions averaged between five to seven percent of the purchase price of a house.
She said that agents dropping out would mostly be those working in the lower income property market, where there was a shortage of stock. ‘‘We cannot say that this is a bad time for the industry, but it is more a sign of a maturing residential property market that has gone through an almost five-year boom period. The market at some point had to slow down.”
Herschel Jawitz, chief executive of Jawitz Properties, said that the main concern and challenge facing estate agents was the substantial drop in the volume of sales.