Saturday, 24 May 2008

Real estate agents punished for 'under-quoting'

Thirteen Sydney real estate agents have been disciplined for under-quoting house prices after a New South Wales Government investigation.

But industry advocates have rejected the findings, saying that the houses were sold at prices consistent with market forces.

The Office of Fair Trading fined 11 agents and issued two warnings for under quoting house values to attract more people at an auction.

The real estate agents are in areas including Epping, Double Bay, St George and Blacktown.

Minister for Fair Trading Linda Burney says the public prompted her to act.

"One of the reasons that we undertook the investigation was a result of a number of complaints," she said.

But Real Estate Institute of New South Wales president Steve Martin says in each case buyers ended up driving up the price

"I think it's a gross over-reaction," he said. "This is a clear case of buyers competing against each other."

The Government investigated 152 auctions in total.

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