Agents’ incomes plummet amid housing supply shortage

By Vu Le   November 26, 2019 | 04:48 pm PT
Agents’ incomes plummet amid housing supply shortage
Apartment blocks in central Binh Thanh District, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Thoai
With new supply in HCMC falling sharply this year and thus having little to sell, property agents are seeing commissions plunge.

The director of a real estate brokerage with 50 agents said only seven of his staff had transactions since the beginning of October. Over 60 percent sold nothing in the last four months, meaning they received only their salary and no commissions, he added.

With little new supply and too many agents working in real estate, the latter’s incomes are being squeezed, the marketing director of a brokerage in the east of the city said.

For instance, in the third quarter, the largest project in the east had 10,000 apartments and 15,000 brokers were trying to sell them. There was not one unit for each of them to sell in the last three months, he said.

Another real estate firm in District 3 complained similarly, saying there were five agents for every apartment in a 2,000-unit project recently sold in southern Vung Tau Town.

"Most real estate brokerages in the south of HCMC are small and only around 5 percent are big enough to have the financial resources and systems that allow them to withstand a downturn," Nguyen Loc Hanh, general director of Asia Gem Real Estate Investment JSC, said.

Most have seen revenues and profits fall this year, with many reporting losses, and many small and mid-sized firms have cut their staff by 60-70 percent and bigger brokerages by 40 percent, he said.

According to the Real Estate Coffee Society of HCMC, brokerages in the west and northwest of the city have cut staff by 50-60 percent.

A recent report by the Ho Chi Minh City Real Estate Association (HoREA) said after reaching a five-year high of 83 in 2017, the number of housing projects had fallen to 59 last year.

The number of completed units in the first nine months of this year fell by 53 percent year-on-year to 12,453, while only 12 projects received approval, a 72 percent decline, the report said.

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