Real estate body threatens to form political party

The NSW peak real estate body has chosen a candidate to run for parliament and fight for change.

Real Estate Institute of NSW president Malcolm Gunning said that members would form a new party if the government failed to address their concerns around industry training.

Mr Gunning told Real Estate Business that members were frustrated by how successive governments had lowered the educational standards required by prospective new agents.

He said the state's Fair Trading office seem more interested in policing and fining agents than improving the industry.

“To be able to let someone loose on the public with about three or four days' training to sell a significant asset is ridiculous,” he said.

While it may be too soon to run in the next state election, due in 2015, Mr Gunning said that the party would target the following election, aiming for an Upper House seat.

Mr Gunning said that while he cannot reveal the name of the prospective candidate, the person in question is "well credentialed, quite prominent, and not in direct agency practice".

With a working title of the "Property Party", he said members would also campaign on broader property issues, such as taxes.

“The NSW government had a $1 billion windfall in the last budget from property taxes above what they budgeted for,” he said.

“The price of property has gone up, but the thresholds for stamp duty haven’t, so more and more people are falling into the higher bracket.”

Mr Gunning said a tilt for parliament was realistic, given that about 70 per cent of Australians either own a property or have some direct connection with property.

He also told Real Estate Business that the industry would benefit from having its own person on the inside rather than seeing its influence diluted between several associations.

“If there was someone in government who spoke up about property matters that they thought were unreasonable, you’d get traction and would be far more likely to get change than if you were a lobbyist.”

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