Controversial legislation which aims to ban auction price guides is set to go to Queensland’s parliament for its crucial second reading on March 18.
The Legal Affairs and Community Safety Committee tabled its report into the Property Occupations Bill 2013 and the Agents Financial Administration Bill 2013 last week.
This leaves the much-criticised legislation one step closer to becoming law. If passed it could become law by June.
The two pieces of legislation [which will replace the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Act 2000 if passed] will make any kind of price guide or information for auction properties illegal.
It will include websites, like realestate.com.au and domain.com.au, which show price ranges to help buyers identify properties within their budget.
Debate over the legislation – which was proposed by the REIQ - has bitterly divided Queensland’s property industry.
McGrath Estate Agents chief executive John McGrath said the legislation was “complete lunacy” and would take Queensland’s property industry “back to the dark ages”.
In his view, price guides help buyers make decisions and enable agents to attract qualified buyers willing to compete at the appropriate level.
“Buyers want information so they can evaluate their options and make informed decisions. They want integrity, transparency and full disclosure on important facts. They want straight talk from agents without the spin or hyperbole of the past.”
The state government should be making it as easy as possible to research property and invest in the state, he said.
“Shouldn’t this be a decision for vendors and their agents to decide whether they want to use price guides... or not?”
A ban on auction price guides would cause havoc for people wanting to buy property in Queensland, REINSW president Malcolm Gunning agreed. It will be a step backward for consumers – at a time when they are demanding transparency in regard to property, he said.
“To take away price guidelines will turn back the clock on Queensland real estate.”
However, REIQ CEO Anton Kardash said the absence of price guides in auctions had long been the status quo in Queensland, and the proposed new laws would simply clarify existing laws.
There had been a lot of misleading claims about the proposed legislation, he said. This included the incorrect claim that an agent representing the property will be unable to make any comment on price whatsoever.
Kardash said that, in reality, agents and auctioneers will be able to provide buyers with price guide information as either a comparative market analysis or a written explanation of the property’s estimated price.
The seller’s consent would be necessary for this, he added.
“If a seller wishes to market a property with a price or using a price guide, they may do so by instructing their agent to sell via the much more popular private treaty method.”
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