OFT rules out new regulations for estate agents

Friday, 19 February 2010 11:48

By myfinances.co.uk staff

Existing legislation covering estate agents is “comprehensive and wide ranging” and the industry requires no additional regulation, a study by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has concluded.

The review of the property market, which was launched in February 2009, said despite there being “weak competition” between traditional estate agents on price, overall consumer satisfaction with their services has improved in recent years.

It added that instead of introducing new rules, the focus should be on enforcing current regulations to deter serious breaches.

The OFT also urged consumers to negotiate the commissions estate agents receive. According to its research, 32 per cent of sellers in England and Wales felt these fees represent poor value for money, yet 64 per cent had not tried to secure a lower charge.

Failing to negotiate on estate agents’ commissions could be costing consumers around £570 million a year, the report said.

OFT chief executive John Fingleton commented: “‘We encourage home sellers to negotiate hard on commission fees and consider using alternatives to traditional estate agents.”

Data from Rightmove shows the average asking price for a home in England and Wales currently stands at £229,398.

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