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Propertymark Advocates for Stricter Regulation in Property Transactions

In a recent parliamentary committee meeting, Propertymark highlighted the need for more stringent regulations to improve the fairness and efficiency of the home buying and selling process in the UK.

Presenting Evidence to the Committee
Timothy Douglas, Head of Policy and Campaigns at Propertymark, addressed the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee on May 13, 2024. Chaired by Clive Betts MP, the session focused on identifying obstacles that hinder the progress of property transactions and discussing how the regulation of property agents could enhance the overall process. Douglas emphasised, “Regulation is viewed as a crucial step towards enhancing the buying and selling process because consumers will then feel reassured that an agent will provide a decent service, especially if an agent has not joined a professional body.”

Challenges in the Current System
Propertymark’s evidence, derived from its position paper and member discussion groups, pointed out the outdated and inefficient nature of the UK’s home buying and selling process. Comparisons with systems in countries like Australia, Norway, and the USA revealed that the UK’s approach leads to numerous transaction failures, costing consumers and professionals significantly. Douglas highlighted the financial losses: “Failed transactions costing consumers £260 million annually, estate agents and conveyancers also lose £1 billion, and approximately 4 million working days annually.”

Calls for Comprehensive Strategy and Digital Innovation
The session also covered the need for a unified approach involving property agents, conveyancers, lenders, and other stakeholders. Propertymark suggests that clear guidelines and better coordination could streamline property transactions. Furthermore, Douglas pointed out the potential benefits of digital advancements, such as the adoption of digital IDs and e-signatures, which could reduce the reliance on paper-based processes. He argued for an overarching government strategy to guide future housing policies across various tenures and departments, asserting, “The industry wants regulation and consumers need it – the property sector needs the UK Government to summon the political will to make effective change.”

This testimony underscores the pressing need for regulatory reforms and digital enhancements to support both professionals and consumers within the UK’s property market.