Jobs are drying up in estate agency as firms cut back on recruitment, and some agents are leaving the sector.
The warning comes from top recruiter Anthony Hesse.
In the UK as a whole, sales jobs are down by 35% year on year. In London, the number of senior sales vacancies is down by over 50%.
Hesse, managing director of Property Personnel, did however make clear that the lettings sector is continuing to boom.
But he said that candidates specialising in residential sales should take a reality check over their salary expectations in the current climate.
Hesse said: “Sadly, some candidates are still demanding rather than commanding a salary.
“But in an industry which is often feast or famine, they need to understand that these are challenging times.
“So they need to take a reality check over their expectations – following the same advice they themselves would give to a client with an unsold and overpriced property.”
Hesse said that the change is prompting some individuals to switch occupations, move abroad to look for work, or even leave the industry altogether.
He added: “Some of our candidates want to remain in property but move away from front-line residential sales. So they are seeking jobs in land, new homes and development. A number of them are moving to Dubai, as the real estate market there appears to be on the rise again.
“Several are taking the opportunity to go travelling, and we have had a couple deciding to go into further education.
“Then there are those who have resolved to get out of estate agency once and for all.”
However, Hesse said there has been a significant rise in vacancies for other roles not associated with sales.
He said: “As is always the case in property, when the residential market hits tough times, the lettings market flourishes and vice versa.
“So on the flip side we’re seeing a marked growth of 15-20% in lettings, property management and business support.
“But whatever the nature of the role, the crucial thing is to understand the current circumstances of the market that has created it.
“A lot of agents have been in the business for some 20 or 30 years – and they are simply putting their heads down and getting on with the job.
“But some candidates have only entered the sector since 2011 – and they have to ensure that their expectations are realistic.
“I should stress that this is more than just a Brexit issue. The truth is that the ‘leave’ vote in the referendum has merely exacerbated a trend which was already evident in the industry.”