Real estate agents who fail to perform professionally and correctly will face tougher consequences as a result of proposed law changes.
The Real Estate Agents Authority (REAA), whose role is to promote professionalism in New Zealand's real estate industry and protect consumers has welcomed the Tribunals Powers and Procedures Legislation bill introduced to Parliament.
The bill's provisions include giving the Real Estate Disciplinary Tribunal (READT) power to take stronger action and award compensation of up to $100,000 where a consumer has suffered loss due to a licensee's unsatisfactory conduct.
Under current legislation, compensation is only available if licensees are found guilty of the most serious charge of bringing the industry into disrepute (misconduct).
"We are aware there are losses suffered by some consumers who don't have the ability to seek appropriate redress," REAA chief executive Kevin Lampen-Smith said.
"We are supportive of the proposed changes, though concerned that the process does not become too complicated."
Lampen-Smith said the REAA intended to make submissions on the bill during the select committee process.
"Currently, all of the power to award compensation is at tribunal level. In addition to the READT, we will be advocating for the independent Complaint Assessment Committees to award compensation to consumers for loss up to a lesser threshold, similar to that of the Disputes Tribunal."
Lampen-Smith said the proposed changes underscored the need for real estate agents to follow the rules.
"Winter traditionally sees a slowing in the market and this winter has been no different," says Peter Thompson, managing director of realtor Barfoot & Thompson.
"It can be hard to make even the best attributes of your home shine when the weather is miserable; that, alongside school holidays and the uncertainty an election always brings, has led to some vendors holding off putting their home on the market.
In July the firm listed 1173 new properties, the lowest number for any July in the past seven years, and 25 percent lower than in June.
Thompson says: "Without question it will take some time for both buyers and vendors to navigate the changing market.
"Opportunities for vendors to sell are still plentiful, however sellers need to be willing to set themselves realistic expectations and listen to what the market is telling them.
"Vendors are less likely to see quick sales and significantly above average price increases, in the short term at least.
"In this type of market, people are motivated by the more fundamental reasons to move house such as a growing family, change of job or downsizing.
"There was little change in the average sales price across Auckland during July. At $908,319 it represented a 5 per cent increase when compared to the same period last year."
There is a shortage of quality lifestyle listings in the rural Auckland market, but there were strong sales of rural land in Drury, Karaka and Pukekohe zoned for future urban development.