Privacy breach: undisclosed property sales a thing of the past

Date: 24 Jul 17

An important vendor right to object to the disclosure of their home’s sale price has been eroded by the new underquoting legislation, the Real Estate Institute of Victoria said today. 

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) has determined that the new price quoting legislation – introduced in May - overrides vendor-agent confidentiality.  

REIV CEO Gil King said for agents to comply with underquoting legislation they may be required to list an undisclosed sale on the Statement of Information – regardless of a vendor’s wishes for the sale price to remain undisclosed. 

“If the undisclosed sale is a comparable property for the home that is being sold, then the advice from CAV is that agents must use it in order to comply with their statutory obligations to take all relevant information into account,” he said.

“What this effectively means is that in the future there will be no such thing as an undisclosed residential property sale – removing an important vendor right to object to the disclosure of the sale price.”

Mr King said that as property sale prices are not considered personal information, they are not covered by privacy legislation. 

“In the past vendor-agent confidentiality has protected a vendor’s right to keep the sale price of their home private, but the new legislation overrides that obligation.”

He added that this change will also impact on reported median house and apartment prices –at both a citywide and suburb level. 

“Undisclosed sales are particularly common at the top end of the market and represent around 17 per cent of sales in the city’s inner ring.

“As undisclosed prices tend to be higher than the median, if agents no longer report sales with undisclosed prices to the REIV, it will cause the reported median price to drop and no longer accurately reflect what’s happening in the market.”   

“The industry regulator has made a decision which has wide-ranging consequences, yet has failed to inform the public of the change. 

“It puts agents in a lose-lose situation because they are forced to breach their vendor’s confidentiality in order to comply with new legislation.

“The decision to force agents to publish undisclosed prices will significantly impact vendors from across Victoria.”