Regulation of estate agents ruled out

Estate agents are to be given a clean bill of health and escape a regulatory crackdown when a year-long investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) reports its findings later today. Despite repeated calls over a number of years by consumer bodies and even some agents’ groups, the OFT will conclude that the industry is generally working in consumers’ best interests and that a regulatory regime is not required. Over the last 12 months, the OFT has been investigating all aspects of the process of buying and selling homes in the UK, including price competition, quality of service, and whether the industry needs to be regulated. Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said: ‘Buying a home is often the largest single transaction of a person’s life and it is disappointing that the OFT has not thought it appropriate to acknowledge that a robust and appropriate level of consumer protection is needed.’