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Independent regulation for “land sharks”

With a swirl of populist rhetoric about the need for “rip off merchants to find another job”, Building and Housing Minister Clayton Cosgrove launched proposals to regulate the real estate industry.

Tuesday, May 29th 2007, 4:13PM

by Rob Hosking

“Self regulation is a privilege and with that privilege comes responsibilities,” Cosgrove told a Parliamentary press conference.

The industry had not discharged those responsibilities, he said.

“I am proposing to remove the regulatory functions from the industry, because it has failed to protect customers from rogue agents. I am also proposing to create an independent Real Estate Licensing Authority responsible for investigating and resolving complaints.”



That authority will have “wide investigative powers” and will be able to impose fines, order compensation and  “strike off” real estate agents.

There will also be a public register of all licensed real estate agents, and people will be able to look and see which agents have “a black mark” against them in terms of previous fines or other actions.

The authority and its activities will not be government funded but will be paid for out of levies and other fees on real estate agents.

The exact cost of this is not yet known, and Cosgrove is wary about discussing any figures at this point.

“We’ve had some preliminary figures…we haven’t put any detail around them yet,” he said when asked about the likely annual cost to real estate agents.

“Obviously the authority costs to run, but as for costs, no I’m not prepared to got here.”
 
“This is an industry which expects to make $1.2 billion in commission this year. How greedy do some of these land sharks have to be to continue ripping people off?”

Cosgrove is holding a series of meetings around the country over the proposals. Submissions close on 10 July, and a bill will be introduced to Parliament by the end of the year.

“If we can get parliamentary support we will pass it by the end of this year and if not, it will be law by early next year.”

Rob Hosking is a Wellington-based freelance writer specialising in political, economic and IT related issues.

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA 4.55 2.29 2.59 2.65
ANZ 4.44 2.89 3.25 3.39
ANZ Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
ASB Bank 4.45 2.29 2.59 2.65
Bluestone 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
BNZ - Classic - 2.29 2.59 2.79
BNZ - Mortgage One 5.15 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 4.60 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 4.55 2.89 3.19 3.39
BNZ - TotalMoney 4.55 - - -
CFML Loans 4.95 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
China Construction Bank 4.49 4.70 4.80 4.95
China Construction Bank Special - 2.65 2.65 2.80
Credit Union Auckland 5.45 - - -
Credit Union Baywide 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
Credit Union South 5.65 3.95 3.85 -
First Credit Union Special 5.85 2.95 3.45 -
Heartland Bank - Online 2.50 1.99 2.35 2.45
Heretaunga Building Society 4.99 3.50 3.40 -
HSBC Premier 4.49 2.25 2.35 2.65
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - 1.99 - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
ICBC 3.69 2.25 2.35 2.65
Kainga Ora 4.43 2.79 3.04 3.13
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - 2.25 - -
Kiwibank 3.40 3.20 3.50 3.50
Kiwibank - Offset 3.40 - - -
Kiwibank Special 3.40 2.35 2.65 2.65
Liberty 5.69 - - -
Nelson Building Society 4.95 3.20 3.24 -
Pepper Essential 4.79 - - -
Resimac 3.39 3.35 2.99 3.35
SBS Bank 4.54 2.79 2.79 3.15
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
SBS Bank Special - 2.29 2.29 2.65
Select Home Loans 3.49 3.34 2.99 3.34
The Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 2.09 - -
The Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 4.40 2.29 2.59 2.79
The Co-operative Bank - Standard 4.40 2.79 3.09 3.29
TSB Bank 5.34 3.09 3.29 3.45
TSB Special 4.54 2.29 2.49 2.65
Wairarapa Building Society 4.99 3.55 3.49 -
Westpac 4.59 3.09 3.29 3.39
Westpac - Offset 4.59 - - -
Westpac Special - 2.29 2.69 2.79
Median 4.55 2.79 2.99 2.80

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