Victorians left dejected at real estate auctions will be better able to enter the market if the coalition is re-elected, the government says.
Planning Minister Matthew Guy on Saturday promised a raft of new laws aimed at cracking down on underquoting in the real estate sector.
He said the laws, which would require agents to disclose the price range of all properties, would quash misleading practices and were particularly aimed at supporting first home buyers.
“There has been a huge spike in the number of complaints for real estate agents who have been underquoting the cost, or the expected cost, of a home to what it actually goes for at an auction,” he told reporters on Saturday.
“What we do not want to keep seeing is people constantly being taken advantage of, rolling up to auctions where the reserve price is $100,000, $200,000 more than what is listed as the price range for the property.”
The laws would ensure the reserve price of a property is within the range advertised, with fines of up to $29,000 for agents who break the rules.
A hotline would be established for reporting dodgy dealings and Consumer Affairs Victoria would have the power to monitor practices both before and after auctions.
Mr Guy said there had been six times as many complaints in 2013-14 as there were two years earlier.
He said current laws in the sector were too complex and difficult to prosecute, but the proposed changes would simplify the process.
Shadow attorney-general Martin Pakula described the proposed crackdown as a stunt, given the laws that were already in force.
“It seems the government has not been properly enforcing these laws,” he told reporters.
“Before they announce a stunt a week out from the election, perhaps they ought to have a conversation with the industry.”