Underquoting battle heats up

Victoria’s peak real estate body has criticised the state government for proposing “unnecessary” underquoting laws without consultation.

The Victorian Coalition government announced it would introduce new laws to deal with a “huge spike” in underquoting if re-elected on November 29.

However, Real Estate Institute of Victoria CEO Enzo Raimondo said laws prohibiting underquoting have been in place since 2006.

“To replicate these laws would appear – at the very least – to be unnecessary,” said Mr Raimondo, adding that Consumer Affairs Victoria is “very vigilant” in ensuring that the industry plays by the rules.

“The checks take place on a regular basis, including one major audit in the past 12 months. This ensures that a close watch is kept on real estate pricing,” he said.

Mr Raimondo also said the government’s “puzzling” announcement about underquoting had come “out of the blue”.

“To make an announcement like this, one week from the election and without consulting the REIV as the peak industry body, is not only surprising but disappointing,” he said.

“We would hope that if the Napthine government is re-elected, it is able to consult with industry and the broader community on a whole range of issues.

“This certainly needs to be done far better than it has on this occasion.”

Meanwhile, the Real Estate Institute of South Australia announced yesterday that it would create an underquoting advisory panel to help determine whether "sufficient information and evidence exists to progress a formal complaint of underquoting through the official REISA grievance channels".

The move follows the SA government's introduction this year of tough new laws to combat underquoting. The laws, which came into effect on 1 January 2014, give a prospective purchaser the reserve price of a property if it is advertised with a price.

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