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Real estate agents in Queensland will be prohibited from providing price guides for properties being auctioned under legislation proposed by the state government.
Under the Property Occupations Bill – introduced to parliament in November last year – the use of price guides and the disclosure of reserve prices in Queensland property auctions will be banned.
Real Estate Institute of Queensland (REIQ) chief executive Anton Kardash said contrary to some media statements, the absence of price guides in auctions had long been the status quo in Queensland.
"Currently in Queensland it is common practice for real estate agents to market an auction property with no price guide or likely sale price indication," Mr Kardash said.
"In fact, the proposed new laws simply seek to clarify existing laws, which many in the real estate industry consider to be consistent with the proposed provisions," he said.
"Indeed, auctions are not unique to real estate. Art, horses and motor vehicles, to name but a few, are regularly auctioned without a fixed price or a price guide because that is the very nature of auctions.
"The market will decide on the day of auction what it is prepared to pay for that particular asset."
The Real Estate Institute of NSW (REINSW) has voiced its disapproval of the law, with the organisation's president, Malcolm Gunning, claiming the ban on auction price guides "would cause havoc for those interested in buying property in Queensland".
"It is a step backward for consumers," he said. "Now more than ever buyers are demanding transparency in regard to property. To take away price guidelines will turn back the clock on Queensland real estate."
McGrath Estate Agents chief executive and REINSW member John McGrath said the law "is insanity".
"There is no logical reason why this should happen. The new legislation would effectively act to ban the agent, buyer and seller from holding a conversation in regard to price.
"It will not solve the issue of underquoting and will prevent buyers from other states and internationally from looking at the Queensland market.
"Internet searches will be useless, with thousands of auction listings appearing in random order," Mr McGrath said.
Mr Gunning and Mr McGrath were urging consumers to write to attorney-general of Queensland Jarrod Bleijie MP to voice their concerns against the Property Occupations Bill and the Agents Financial Administration Bill 2013, which are currently before Queensland parliament.
REIQ stated it will provide no further commentary on the matter.