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New Zealand's real estate watchdog is ramping up its crackdown on house-flipping by investing in new technology which allows it to track when properties have been quickly re-sold for huge profits.
The move will allow the Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA) to proactively chase agents involved in transactions without relying on complaints from the public.
It comes after a Herald investigation revealed a series of cases in which houses were quickly re-sold - sometimes just hours apart - for big mark-ups, leaving homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars out of pocket in some cases.
Agents who fail to disclose to a vendor any links with future buyers can face misconduct charges and lose their licence.
But the Labour Party says such breaches are often not picked up. It wants the watchdog to have greater resources to detect flipping - especially in Auckland's bloated housing market - and for non-disclosures to be outlawed.
Faced with a series of controversial on-sales cases highlighted by the Herald, REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said yesterday his organisation was becoming more proactive in its monitoring of wrong-doing.
Technological advances would soon allow it to quickly access and analyse data on property transactions as they occur.
"This will enable closer scrutiny of flipping without waiting for a complaint, or information from the media, months or years after the transaction before the matter is looked into," Lampen-Smith said.
Appearing at a Parliamentary select committee yesterday, the REAA revealed it had become concerned enough about the practice of flipping that it recently reviewed 300 cases in Auckland in which houses were bought and resold within 12-months.