Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Nov 2009

PROPERTY: Estate Agents As Broke As the Rest Of Us


Recent Gauteng Business News

It has been found in a recent survey of the South African real estate industry that despite being hard-working and very experienced, most SA estate agents could not themselves afford to buy the homes that they market.

The survey shows that while the average price of the properties sold by estate agents in the past year is just over R1m, more than half of the agents polled earn R13 000 a month or less – which means that at most they could buy a home costing around R400 000.

Another 28% of agents earn between R13 000 and R26 000 a month, which would only qualify them to buy a home priced at around R800 000 at most, even at the current low home loan interest rates, and would certainly preclude them in most cases from investing in second or third properties.

Dr Willie Marais, national president of the Institute of Estate Agents (IEASA) believes, “Not even one agent in five is earning the kind of income that would enable them to individually purchase a home costing R1m or more – despite the fact the typical agent works full-time (an average of 42,5 hours a week) and that 90% have received specialised real estate training.

The situation was no different five years ago, at the height of the property boom, when a similar survey showed that only 20% of agents then earned more than R20 000 a month.

The huge majority of agents in fact work long and irregular hours for uncertain and irregular rewards.

This is no doubt an important reason why the industry is still failing to attract very many young people, he says, with the survey showing that only 8% of agents currently operating are under-35 – compared with 8% who were under-30 five years ago.

There is positive news in the survey for consumers, with the results showing that 67% of the agents currently operating have at least five years’ experience – and that 37% have actually been in the industry for more than 10 years.

The just-released survey of the industry, conducted by an independent researcher, is the second such poll ever conducted in SA, the first having been done in 2004.

Distributed to 42 000 agents registered with the EAAB, it probed a wide range of characteristics of agents and agencies, including demographics, business activities and technology usage, as well as compensation structures and although participation was entirely voluntary, it drew a strong response.

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