Agent Numbers Are Declining
Queensland and Western Australian estate agent numbers have slumped as a consequence of a nationwide drop in transaction volumes and property prices.
Last year’s volumes were about 13% lower than volumes in 2010 across Australia, according to RP Data head of research Tim Lawless.

The figure was 26% lower than 2009 and 33% lower than the recent highs of 2007.

“The real estate industry is doing it tough,” Lawless concludes.

David Airey, president of the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia, reports the volume of sales in Perth last year was the worst in two decades and many agencies had laid off staff.

“A typical example is where you had 10 or 11 agents, now you only have five or six,” he says.

“If you didn’t have a rent roll, your agency would be totally dependent on sales and it’s probably been reduced to partners and principals only.

“That seems to be a pattern we’ve seen across Australia,” he told Fairfax Media.

Lawless notes that the price declines have also affected the agency bottom lines.

He says the total value of sales in 2011 was down 18.3% compared with 2010.

Lawless estimates estate agent commissions are likely to be down by about the same amount.