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More than 600 property agents warned in crackdown

The number of warnings and fines issued to real estate agents rose sharply as the Council for Estate Agencies clamped down on unethical and unprofessional behaviour.

According to the industry watchdog's annual report released yesterday, 644 letters of advice or warnings were issued to estate agents and salespersons between April 1 last year and March 31 this year.

This was more than double the 287 issued the year before.

There were also 32 composition fines meted out, up from just six a year ago, reported The Straits Times online.

More errant agents or salespersons were also taken to task.

There were 19 cases of court prosecution, up from seven previously, and 17 cases of disciplinary action, compared to seven a year before.

All this despite fewer complaints being received last year.

There were 751 complaints, down from 880 a year before. The most common types involved advertisements and flyers.

Against the backdrop of a sluggish property market, fewer people chose to become estate agents.

Of the 1,449 licensed estate agents last year, only 81 were new. The year before, there were 1,495 agents, including 235 new entrants.

The number of registered salespersons, however, rose to 33,498 from 32,982 a year earlier.

This was despite a fall in the number of new salespersons, with only 3,061 joining up, compared to 4,289 the year before.

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