Dark ages descending on Queensland as auction price guide ban defies common sense: John McGrath

Estate agent John McGrath took whole page ads in weekend Queensland newspapers to step up the campaign against legislation that bans agents from volunteering price guides on residential auction properties.

The Property Occupations Bill and the Agents Financial Administration Bill 2013 is before the Queensland Parliament.

John McGrath, chief executive of McGrath Estate Agents which operates seven Queensland agencies including in Brisbane, the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast, says banning price guides would damage the state’s residential auction market.

"Every buyer I have ever met in 32 years wants price guides," a passionate John McGrath recently told the Queensland P0arliamentary Committee reviewing the extraordinary regressive proposal.

"We are now in the age of information where the internet has broken down barriers between business and the consumer.

"Common sense already tells us...buyers want information to help them evaluate their options," he wrote in a critic of the Real Estate Institute of Queensland proposal.

The legislation comes despite no known REIQ formal industry or consumer survey.

John McGrath strongly challenges the REIQ view that the majority of the industry are for the ban.

"The feedback from buyers and sellers following our open letter last Saturday has been tremendous in large supporting our view," he said.

It is understood the committee has recommendation is that price guides should be banned in Queensland despite the submissions by relevant parties including REA, McGrath and News Ltd.

John McGrath outlined what the proposed legislation will mean for consumers including:

* No auction property will ever be able to be advertised with a price indication nor can the agent representing the property make any comment on price whatsoever.

* Buyers will no longer be able to search for auction properties by price on the internet. There will be no price filter on any Queensland auction searches.

*Property editorials in newspapers will never be able to mention a price expectation.

*Price estimates provided by data companies that can assist buyers in determining the likely price range will also be banned under this proposal.

*As a seller you will no longer have the right to sell by auction with a price guide. As a buyer you will no longer be able to discuss price with an agent selling at auction.

"It does the people of Queensland a great disservice, in my opinion, to deny them such a fundamental right when it comes to the most important financial asset that any of us will ever own.

"The banning of price guides will be a barrier to business for this great state. We should be open for business. Making it easy for others to research our property and invest in Queensland," he said.

"There is no other jurisdiction in the world that bans such information being provided like price guides on properties."

He encouraged emails to [email protected].

"We only have a few days as Parliament is due to determine this proposal early next week," he said in an open letter published in two Queensland newspapers, The Courier-Mail and The Gold Coast Bulletin.

Click to enlarge

John McGrath is also a director of REA Group, which owns online portal realestate.com.au.

"I am very passionate. I am very frustrated. I am very concerned that this could take us back 50 years, and for what purpose? It benefits no-one. In fact, it is detrimental to all parties involved, in my opinion," John McGrath told the committee.

[email protected]


Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor

Jonathan Chancellor is one of our authors. Jonathan has been writing about property since the early 1980s and is editor-at-large of Property Observer.


Be the first one to comment on this article
What would you like to say about this project?