Huttons Asia claims its place among the Big Three agencies

/ EdgeProp Singapore |
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SINGAPORE (EDGEPROP) - In early 2021, Huttons Asia had 3,211 agents. Mark Yip, CEO of the homegrown agency, had set a target of 4,000 agents by the end of the year. By Jan 3, 2022, the number of agents at Huttons Asia has climbed to 4,155, based on the Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) public register.
Huttons Asia has vaulted from fourth to third place and now ranks among the three biggest real estate agencies by salesforce in Singapore. PropNex and ERA Realty Network are the two biggest. (Read more: PropNex bulks up, ready to seize bigger market share).
Of close to 1,000 agents that joined Huttons last year, about 700 came on board following the move of four managing partners and co-founders of Navis Living Group who crossed over from OrangeTee & Tie last October. The remaining agents were a mix of new recruits and those who joined its ranks from other agencies.
By mid-February, Huttons should have 4,250 to 4,300 agents as there are some whose applications are still pending CEA approval, says Yip. He is aiming to have a salesforce of 5,000 agents by the end of 2022. “I want to strike while the iron is hot,” he remarks. “Developers are taking note of us, and even other agencies are recognising that Huttons is a strong challenger.”
Yip: Size does matter. But 5,000 to 6,000 agents is an optimal size. Beyond that, inefficiency sets in and cracks will start to form when a team gets too big (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
His target is to have a salesforce of 6,000 agents. “Size does matter,” he says. “But 5,000 to 6,000 agents is an optimal size. Beyond that, inefficiency sets in and cracks will start to form when a team gets too big.”
Since Yip joined Huttons in November 2020, he has set about improving the firm’s “hardware and software”. The hardware included improving the physical office space and turning it into a more collaborative workplace. He also looked into investing in digitalisation and customised Huttons applications for agents. This year, he intends to integrate three apps into one, and to include a new “Huttons analyser”. This will improve its usefulness for the agents, he adds. “We are also advocating a lot of training for our agents — via zoom or physical sessions.”
Sometime in late March or early April, Huttons will launch its new property auction business, with a new team joining from an international property agency.
This year, Huttons will be celebrating its 20th anniversary. And for Yip, it is a significant milestone as Huttons is now the biggest it has been in terms of salesforce, he says. The number of agents that have clocked a million in commissions last year is also a new high, with 32 agents hitting hat benchmark. The top producer, associate group district director Jeremy Lim, is said to have recorded over $3 million in commissions last year.
Huttons Research estimates that there were 24 private residential and two executive condo (EC) launches last year. Of the 24 launches, 12 were in the Core Central Region (CCR), seven in the Rest of Central Region (RCR) and five in the Outside Central Region (OCR). An estimated 10,000 units were launched for sale last year. (Discover insightful data of any Singapore condominium with our condo directory)
This year, Huttons expects a pipeline of 43 private residential launches with a total of 5,509 units. By segment, 1,177 units (21.4%) are expected to be in the CCR; another 2,059 units (37.4%) in the RCR; and 2,273 units (41.3%) in the OCR.
Two EC projects may be launched in 2022, namely North Gaia in Yishun by Sing Holdings sometime in March or April, and another at Tengah Garden Walk in 4Q2022 by a joint venture between City Developments (CDL) and MCL Land. A third EC project along Tampines Street 62 will reach its 15th month in Nov 2022 and may be launch in 1Q2023, says Lee Sze Teck, senior director of research at Huttons Asia.
Projects that are likely to debut in 1Q2022 include the 107 unit, freehold strata landed project Belgravia Ace at Belgravia Drive, off Ang Mo Kio Avenue 5; the 34-unit freehold boutique development Kovan Jewel on Kovan Road; 32-unit Royal Hallmark on Haig Road; the 105-unit The Arden at Phoenix Road and the 405-unit project at Northumberland Road.
In terms of demand, Yip believes there’s still a big pool of first-time buyers. Investor demand, both local and foreign, is expected to cool as the additional buyer’s stamp duty (ABSD) introduced on Dec 16 is punitive, he adds. However, he is confident that transaction activity will rebound in the next three to six months.
One of the Execuitive Condo projects to be launched this year is the upcoming project at Tengah Garden Walk by a joint venture between City Developments Ltd and MCL Land (Photo: Samuel Isaac Chua/EdgeProp Singapore)
Despite the dampening effect of the recent cooling measures, Yip is of the view that developers will still need to replenish their landbank as inventory of unsold private housing units is estimated to sink to 15,000 by end 2021. “Even though the government is pumping more Built-to-Order flats and government land sale sites, there will still be some delays in terms of completions,” he notes. “So demand for resale HDB flats and private resale homes will continue to be strong.” (Find HDB flats for rent or sale with our Singapore HDB directory)
The impact of the property cooling measures on the collective sale market is decidedly mixed. “The larger sites are unlikely to receive bids that meet the sellers’ price expectations,” notes Yip. “But smaller sites that are well located will still be in demand as many developers are running low in inventory.”
According to Yip, real estate is still the best hedge against inflation and market volatility. “Investors will eventually return to the residential market. Hot money is still coming into Singapore,” he adds.
He’s of the view that the Good Class Bungalow (GCB) and luxury bungalow segment may initially see a drop in transactions. “But there are people who will still want to upgrade and to buy a landed home,” he adds. “The rich are getting richer, and there are many who have made money in the stock market who want to channel it into real estate.”
Huttons is therefore making sure that its agents are more diverse in their expertise and skillsets. Beyond new project sales, he is planning to grow Huttons’ market share in residential resale, commercial and shophouse segments. “Realistically, there are always 10% to 30% of agents who are inactive, and we need to engage them through dialogues and other means,” he says.
Check out the latest listings near Belgravia Ace, Royal Hallmark

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