Ethical Issues in Singapore’s Real Estate Industry

The real estate prices started to increase in Singapore in the year 2009, and since there was no property which was affordable in the city, it was being criticized on a large scale for the lack of affordable houses. The criticism slowly increased and became a clamour, and everyone was complaining about the pricing range of the real estate properties. When the protest became furious, the government had to get involved and cool down the market. Even then the prices did not reduce, but later the transaction volume dropped, and ethical practices were the cause for the concern in 2014.

The misunderstanding between agents and clients:

There are different localities in Singapore, and the potential clients are from all parts of the world. Thus, a real estate agent must take the extra effort to explain to the client on the price range of the property. Some agents tend to behave appropriately and coordinate with their clients and make them get the best deal possible, but other agents get frustrated with their buyers and do not perform their duties diligently.

Many buyers were complaining that their real estate agents were misinterpreting information and were providing false news to gain more money. They also started to pressurize the clients to buy the property otherwise it would be sold to another buyer. Buying a house is a significant investment for most clients, and they are concerned about lots of things regarding the home they purchase. In this situation, ethics are fundamental in the industry to satisfy the customers and the sellers.

The reason for the misunderstanding:

The growing complications of the dispute between the clients and the agents are mostly due to the lack of strict regulations over the conduct of housing agents. Since there were no proper regulations, the agents started to behave as roughly as possible to gain more money. Due to this, there were many complaints raised by the Consumer Association of Singapore (CASE).

Consumer Association of Singapore is a non-governmental organization which involves in promoting fair trade practices across all the industries.  Though many complaints were raised to this association, it was not able to solve any problem as it did not have any regulatory power or have the expertise to deal with complicated real estate disputes.

Council for Estate Agencies (CEA):

Since CASE could not provide any solution to the problem, the Ministry of National Development had set up a Council for Estate Agencies (CEA) in the year 2010 for monitoring the practices of real estate industry and to enhance the ethical behaviour of the agents in the industry. The main aim of CEA is to make sure that the agents are qualified. They also offer training programmes which teaches them ethical ways to deal with a client. By creating a more ethical environment, the CEA believed that there would be no conflicts between both the parties.

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