Law banning auction price guides ‘insane’: McGrath

HIGH-PROFILE real estate agent John McGrath has stepped up his campaign against proposed legislation in Queensland banning agents from suggesting price guides on residential auction properties, claiming the move could destroy the Sunshine State’s auction market.

The Property Occupations Bill and the Agents Financial Administration Bill 2013 is now before the Queensland parliament and could be enacted as early as next week.

The bill has been described as “insanity” by the Sydney-based Mr McGrath, chief executive of McGrath Estate Agents, which operates seven agencies including in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast.

Mr McGrath said banning price guides could erode and possibly destroy the Sunshine State’s residential auction market, while online sites would not be able to sort properties by price order.

In an open letter published today in two Queensland newspapers, the Gold Coast Bulletin and The Courier-Mail, Mr McGrath says if this bill is passed, it will take the market back to the dark ages and negatively affect anyone buying or selling a home by auction.

“If the ban is imposed, all questions from potential buyers about price will be unable to be answered,” Mr McGrath said.

“The buyer will need to make a formal written request to seek a comparative market analysis for every auction property in which they are interested.

“So if you see a property you like and call an agent or visit an open for inspection they will be banned from having any discussion on price.”

But not all agents are against the legislative changes.

John Johnston, chief executive of Johnston Dixon Quality Property in Brisbane, said the legislation was sound and appropriate.

“Anyone out there operating is not going to have an issue with this. In fact they will welcome it because it makes underquoting a far more difficult proposition.

“None of my industry colleagues have any problem with it whatsoever.”

But Mr McGrath, a director of REA Group, which owns online portal, said if the legislation passed it would also affect online listings.

He said the latest research showed up to 91 per cent of buyers passed by properties with no price guide on the internet. “Buyers want information to help them evaluate their options.”

“There is no other jurisdiction in the world that bans such information being provided, like price guides on properties. In fact most other states and countries are moving in the opposite direction.”

Source: The Australian


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