CEA rolls out higher training requirements, differentiated learning paths to raise professionalism of property agents

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
Attendees at the SEAA conference on May 19 with guest of honour Indranee Thurai Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Education (centre) (Picture: SEAA)
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - The property agency industry saw an abrupt shift during the Covid-19 pandemic, which accelerated the adoption of digital and technological tools and impacted how properties are marketed and transacted.
Since then, the pace of disruption in the industry has remained rapid, notes Adam Wang, president of the Singapore Estate Agents Association (SEAA). “From technological advancement in artificial intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT to changing consumer behaviour, we are witnessing a fundamental shift in the ways our industry operates,” he stated during SEAA’s annual conference on May 19.
As a result, the need for property agents to continuously adapt and grow has become crucial. “As professionals in our field, it is our duty to upskill, stay ahead of these trends and adapt to the changing landscape to remain relevant to the needs of a dynamic world,” Wang opines.
This sentiment lay at the heart of the conference, which was attended by nearly 500 real estate practitioners this year. Titled Uplifting Professionalism in the Real Estate Industry: Staying Ahead of Evolving Trends, the conference featured presentations on market developments from panellists including Suan Teck Kin, UOB’s head of research and executive director; Tan Hong Boon, executive director for capital markets at JLL; and EdgeProp Singapore CEO Bernard Tong.
The conference also saw the unveiling of new measures aimed at enhancing the competencies of property agents. Guest of honour Indranee Thurai Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Education, announced eight recommendations that will be implemented by the Council of Estate Agencies (CEA) as part of the Real Estate Industry Transformation Map 2025 which aims to build “a professional, productive and resilient real estate agency industry”.
The changes include an increase in annual training requirements for property agents. Currently, under the industry’s Continuing Professional Development (CPD) ecosystem, agents must obtain six CPD credits, which usually translates to an attendance of six to nine hours worth of CPD-approved training courses, per year in order to renew their licence. From October 2025, property agents will have to fulfil 16 hours of training a year, with the CPD requirement to be based on training hours rather than credits moving forward.
Out of these 16 hours, 12 must be done through structured learning courses provided by certified course providers, including four hours dedicated to training in prescribed topics such as ethics and laws and regulations governing the property market. The remaining four hours of the annual requirement can be done through self-directed learning courses, which cover lessons such as customer service-related and digital marketing skills.
Other measures announced include differentiated learning paths for agents at various stages of their career, tighter accreditation criteria and a new audit framework for CPD courses, and publishing of feedback on CPD courses by attendees on the CEA website to ensure greater transparency.

Key thrusts and recommendations by Project Adept (Advancing and Enhancing Professionalism and Training) workgroup

Source: CEA
Minister Indranee Rajah sees the new measures as a necessary step towards raising professionalism among property agents and ensuring that their knowledge and expertise can meet consumers’ expectations. “Continual upskilling and learning are key to matching up to these expectations,” she says, adding that this will also underpin the sector’s evolvement “to the the next level”. As of Jan 1, the number of property agents in Singapore stood at 34,427 across 1,118 agencies, according to figures published on the CEA website.

Evolving trends

Befitting its theme of staying ahead of evolving trends, attendees at the conference were able to get an overview of the changing property landscape through presentations on select topics by panellists. 'UOB’s Suan provided an update on the macroeconomic outlook for Singapore, highlighting that the city-state’s economic growth is expected to slow this year compared to the previous year’s GDP growth of 3.6%, amid challenges including a dip in the manufacturing sector. Nonetheless, a recession is not on the cards as service-based industries such as tourism and financial services help to offset the manufacturing downturn.
Interest rates are expected to remain elevated, though Suan notes that the bulk of rate hikes have passed. “We expect rates to flatten this year and possibly come down next year,” he says. In addition, China’s reopening is also expected to support Singapore’s economy. Overall, UOB is projecting Singapore economic growth to come in at about 0.7% this year.
JLL’s Tan gave an overview of the collective sale market, which has seen activity slow in the past couple of years. Since 2020, about $6.8 billion worth of collective sales have occurred, compared to the roughly $21 billion transacted between 2015 to 2019. “We are currently in a lull period following the last major collective sale cycle that peaked in 2017 to 2018,” Tan explains.
Despite the lull, he notes that sales volume and prices of both new launches and resale homes remain healthy. He attributes this to pent-up demand, combined with an insufficent supply of new homes. As a result, developers remain keen in seeking out new development sites, though Tan concedes that obstacles such as higher interest rates and high price expectations from owners are placing a dampener on the market. “Potential gains on collective sales are getting smaller, while replacement costs for owners are getting higher,” he observes.
Meanwhile, EdgeProp CEO Bernard Tong outlined drivers underpinning the movement of demand and supply in the property market. This includes factors such as population growth and new infrastructure that propel demand; and upcoming housing developments that would impact supply.
Using information extracted using the EdgeProp LandLens tool, Tong highlights relevant drivers in select key areas. For example, in District 15, he notes that there are over 32,000 existing condo units which cater to a large pool of not just owner-occupiers but also rental tenants, with the latter making up a sizeable portion of the populations in the Marine Parade and Geylang planning areas. Elsewhere, in the Lentor area, Tong highlights that over the next five to seven years, the estate will see almost double the existing supply of condo units of around 4,000 units, driven by several Government Land Sales in the area.
Ultimately, Tong emphasises the need to have an understanding of the various supply and demand dynamics for agents to better explain trends and market developments to clients that will ultimately impact property decision-making.

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