13 real estate agencies face prosecution by Commission

The Commerce Commission is prosecuting thirteen real estate companies after a 20 month investigation

The Commerce Commission is cracking down on the real estate industry, prosecuting thirteen real estate companies as a result of a 20-month investigation into "alleged price-fixing and anti-competitive behaviour", stuff.co.nz reports. 

Among the thirteen firms are Barfoot and Thompson, Harcourts, LJ Hooker, Ray White and Bayley Corporation and a further eight real estate firms have been issued warnings.

The investigation by the competition watchdog began in February last year after allegations that some real estate agents had boycotted advertising properties on Trade Me.

The regulator claims "the defendants breached the Commerce Act by agreeing a planned industry response to Trade Me's changed pricing model", according to stuff.co.nz.

"It alleged the parties agreed that vendors would have to pay the listing fee to have their property advertised on Trade Me, and that the agencies would not commit to any preferential or discounted listing fees with Trade Me," the website stated. 

According to The Commission, Bayley and Unique Realty admit they had broken the law and agreed in principle to settle.