Year in review: Top 10 stories of 2015

It was a busy year for real estate, with franchise ownership changes, high-profile underquoting accusations and some hard-hitting commentary from John McGrath.

And the biggest stories of the year were …

10. LJ Hooker ownership changes hands

Janusz Hooker led a shareholder buyout of LJ Hooker, leaving the company with a smaller board of directors that it said were each strategically valuable.

9. John McGrath says Squiiz is 'wasting their money'

John McGrath dismissed the possibility of Squiiz becoming a successful portal, claiming “REA has won and Domain is a strong second competitor”.

8. NSW government releases new underquoting guidelines

Fair Trading must have made some people nervous when it clarified that agents are breaking the law if they don’t believe a home could sell for the figure quoted in an ‘offers above’ campaign.

7. Fake agent sells 23 properties

The regulator warned consumers not to deal with an unlicensed agent who had been successfully selling real estate.

6. Principal wins $633,000 legal victory over employee

A long-term real estate relationship was left shattered after an office manager was found to have withheld income from head office.

5. Real estate agency slapped with $40,000 penalty

Agents and principals were put on notice about making "grand claims” in their marketing, after one business was punished for misleading advertising.

4. ‘Dinosaur agents' will soon be extinct: John McGrath

John McGrath warned that older agents who refuse to master productivity boosting technology such as smartphones, laptops and tablets will become irrelevant.

3. BresicWhitney faces losing licence for underquoting

The real estate world was stunned when one of Sydney’s most respected agencies was charged with underquoting.

2. Reserve Bank decision surprises market

Social media went into meltdown after the Reserve Bank surprised economists by making its first interest rate change in 18 months.

1. Vivien Yap opens office, switches groups

LJ Hooker got the industry talking after it poached one of Australia’s top agents from a rival group.

[Related: Top 10 stories of 2014]

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