The Consumer Affairs Victoria taskforce charged with cracking down on underquoting has reported on the outcomes of its work over the past 12 months.
Taskforce Vesta monitored 200 properties from first online listing to final sale throughout 2015-16.
Of the 176 properties that sold within the monitoring period:
- 48, or around 27 per cent, sold within the agent’s estimated price
- 53, or around 30 per cent, sold at between 0.1 to 10 per cent above the estimated price
- 45, or around 26 per cent, sold between 10.1 and 19.9 per cent above the estimated price
- 12 properties, or around seven per cent, sold at 20 per cent or more than the estimated price
- 18, or around 10 per cent, sold at less than the estimated price.
Inspectors searched for evidence of underquoting at the offices of 34 estate agents involved in sales worth significantly more than the advertised price, examining around 1,400 sales files.
Outcomes from Taskforce Vesta - which was created in mid-2015 - include the commencement or continuation of 13 underquoting investigations, and issuing 20 formal warnings.
“Buyers should be able to rely on advertised prices, and underquoting undermines their confidence in real estate agents and the property market,” Consumer Affairs Victoria Director Simon Cohen said.
“The results of Taskforce Vesta show that more often than not, properties are sold for prices that significantly exceed estate agent estimates.
“Consumer Affairs Victoria is determined to level the playing field for Victorian home buyers by continuing to target estate agents who deliberately underquote property prices.”
New laws passed by the Victorian Parliament in November 2016 provide for additional rules to improve the information for home buyers, and increased penalties - including loss of commission - for estate agents who underquote.
View the full report on the Our underquoting taskforce page.