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In 2018, as many as 94% of all resale HDB flat sellers used the services of a property agent to take care of their sale. On the other hand, only 57% of the HDB buyers did so. The below analysis has been conducted by PropTech startup Propseller.com, a Singapore-born technology-powered real estate agency. It shows that for their most important life decision, Singaporeans still heavily rely on property agents, similar to Americans.

Sellers

Singaporeans almost instinctively decide to engage the services of a property agent when they need to sell their HDB flats. In 2018, as many as 94% of all HDB owners who sold there flat did so by being represented by a seller agent, leaving only 6% of the transactions being closed as FSBO (For Sale By Owner) or DIY (Do It Yourself).

This makes sense because a seller (or listing) agent is the agent that takes care of finding a buyer for his client – the HDB seller – along with helping with financial planning, paperwork and other tasks. In Singapore, the most common commission for a seller agent is 2% of the property price, despite the fact that some agents and even agencies sometimes offer a different pricing. The analysis below has been conducted by PropTech startup Propseller.com, a Singapore based technology-powered real estate agency using HDB data released via data.gov.sg.

Sources: CEA, HDB, Propseller analysis.

Buyers

On the other hand, when it comes to buying a resale HDB flat, Singaporeans have different preferences, with only 57% of them opting to be represented by a buyer agent to close a transaction, in 2018. Buyers these days have access to online portals that list thousands of properties for sale, and nearly half of them choose not to get any other help to close the deal.

A buyer agent is a bit like a personal shopper: he or she searches for the ideal property for his client – the buyer – and provides assistance with the selection, financial planning, paperwork and completion. In Singapore, the standard commission for HDB buyer agents is 1% of the property price.

Sources: CEA, HDB, Propseller analysis.

Singapore vs USA

Singapore HDB agent engagement numbers are quite comparable to the US standards where 96% of the sellers were represented by a seller agent in 2018  (vs. 94% in Singapore for resale HDBs). On the buyers’ side, there was a larger difference between the US and Singapore with as many as 87% of all US buyers being represented by a buyer agent (vs. only 57% in Singapore for resale HDBs). This is explained by the fact that in the US, for any type of property, the buyer can use the service of a buyer agent without having to pay a commission, similar to how it is for private properties in Singapore. For HDB’s in Singapore, the buyer would need to pay a 1% commission fee to his buyer agent, thus causing the engagement number to be lower.

Sources & References

CEA Salespersons’ Transaction Records (for HDB Resale), Data.gov.sg: link

Number of Resale Applications Registered by Flat Type, Quarterly, Data.gov.sg: link

2018 Profiles of Home Buyers and Seller, US National Association of Realtors: link