The government has allegedly ruled out any regulation of estate agents for fear that it would lead to higher fees and would be deemed anti-competitive.
During the annual myhomemove conference Mark Hayward, managing director of the National Association of Estate Agents, is reported by the publication Mortgage Introducer to have requested more regulation from re-appointed housing minister Brandon Lewis.
Hayward told the conference: "I've asked him for regulation of our industry and he said no. He told me it was anti-competitive because if all agents were licensed he believed we would set our fees higher and that would not benefit the consumer."
Hayward said this was not the case and asked Lewis to reconsider but the housing minister failed to respond.
Ironically the government’s ruling out of regulation for estate agents comes as it is reportedly likely to introduce a national register for landlords.
Meanwhile at the same conference myhomemove chief executive officer Doug Crawford used his keynote speech to call on the property industry to keep pace with rapidly changing consumer demand.
Crawford told delegates that consumer habits were changing with demands for instant updates and transparency on tracking a conveyancing case from offer to completion, using more technology - with the average UK household now having 7.4 internet connected devices - and with the public increasingly seeing online customer reviews as being as important as personal recommendations.
“The internet doesn’t respect a company’s size or history – it’s about what’s working now. When it comes to customer expectations online, don’t expect to compare yourself to others in your market. Your customer judges your website on whether it’s as good as their bank, insurer, supermarket or even gaming site” says Crawford.
Crawford has also announced an update for eWay – myhomemove’s online case-management service – to include branding for customers and a more easily accessible interface, scheduled to come into effect later this year.