As the value of national building permits drops for the second consecutive month, some agents argue that those sales reps who are in the business for the “easy money” associated with condos and first-time buyer transactions have been damaged.
“It’s work ethic and it all comes down to finding clients, and once you find the client, how you keep that relationship,” says John Whyte, a sales rep in Toronto. “A lot of the business is done through referrals, so you want that relationship with your client. But a lot of agents come in for a quick buck and they forget about the relationship side.”
A StatsCan release last week reported a 0.9 per cent decline in building permit values in February, compared to the month prior. That marks the second consecutive monthly decline, which was driven by lower construction intentions in traditionally strong markets like Quebec, Ontario and Alberta.
Those same markets, however, are the ones that typically attract part-time agents. The Toronto Real Estate Board, for instance, has more than 40,000 registered members, but challenging market conditions are expected to encourage many to give up their licensing.
“There are so many agents and they are all going to fight for the business, whether its new builds or resales,” Whyte says. “It’s been like that for years and years. (New agents) think they’ll come in and have all the freedom they want. But being a real estate agent, you’re working more hours than most.
“A lot of people realize that there’s a lot more that needs to go into (being a successful agent) and they fall by the wayside.”
The latest national construction numbers suggest market conditions will cut the number of active agents in the months ahead – culling the weakest from the herd.