Real estate rules being breached with impunity: REINSW

Foreign-born agents are helping overseas buyers subvert Australian real estate rules, one peak body has warned.

Real Estate Institute of NSW president Malcolm Gunning said the federal government missed the point last week when it proposed greater oversight of foreign investment in residential real estate.

Mr Gunning told Real Estate Business that the more serious issue was one that had been raised by the international chapter of the Real Estate Institute – that immigrants are helping people from their homeland to illegally purchase established properties.

Some of these people attain real estate qualifications before moving to Australia, he said, while others do so after immigrating.

Either way, the concern is that they’re combining study or regular employment with a bit of improper real estate work on the side, Mr Gunning added.

“They’re selling second-hand houses because they don’t get caught. We’ve said to the Office of Fair Trading that this is the big issue that needs to be addressed,” he said.

Mr Gunning said the extent of this illegal behaviour was unclear, but that it was prevalent enough to have raised an alarm with the international chapter.

“To get a real estate licence is so easy that a lot of individuals with little or no experience are able to go out and sell real estate and they have absolutely no concern necessarily about the state rules,” he said.

“They’re being breached and the attitude that’s coming from our international chapter is that these people are transacting property and giving advice on the basis that they don’t get caught.”

[Related: Govt warned that real estate reforms could prove costly]

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