OFT to launch estate agencies probe

OFT to launch estate agencies probe

The process by which houses are bought and sold in the UK is to be the subject of an Office of Fair Trading (OFT) investigation.

In the probe - due to start in February 2009 - the OFT will examine issues such as the quality of service and price competition, the ability of new entrants to get into the market and the extent of protection that current regulations provide to consumers.

The government, consumers and industry stakeholders will all be canvassed in the study.

OFT chief executive John Fingleton remarked: "We want to ensure that consumers are served well when buying or selling a home and are supported by an effective, competitive and innovative market."

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) has welcomed the investigation.

Its chief executive Peter Bolton King said he hoped the report will end up supporting calls made by the NAEA for "appropriate regulation" of the sector.

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