A dozen South Australian real estate agents are being investigated for possibly underquoting house prices to create a “buzz” about their listings.
Attorney-General John Rau says seven of the agents are among 37 checked recently by consumer officials as part of an effort to stamp out dishonest industry practices.
Another five were already under investigation.
“Underquoting is an issue in South Australia. We don’t want to see a dodgy few ruining the reputation of the whole real estate industry,” Mr Rau said on Sunday.
Underquoting involves a land agent advertising a house for a price below what the seller is willing to accept to encourage more buyers to view and bid for the property.
Those found to be underquoting face fines of up to $20,000 or one year in jail for each breach.
Mr Rau said people invested both emotionally and financially in properties they considered buying, causing stress and disappointment when they were misled by a dishonest agent.
SA Real Estate Institute president Greg Troughton said underquoting was a serious matter and he was pleased to see that authorities had agents that used the ”quote it low and watch it go” practice in their sights.