Labour writes to the Competition Authority regarding first time buyer’s information
15 June 2021
Seanad Leader and spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Labour housing spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan has written to the Competition Authority following concerning reports of excess information being required by estate agents from first time buyers. Savills Estate Agents have asked for significant amounts of information, including “full proof of funds”, to show houses in Lucan.
Senator Moynihan said:
“I have written to the Competition Authority asking for an investigation into practices carried out by Savills Estate Agents from buyers. The purposes for requiring such information is totally unclear, and I am concerned that this information may be used by Savills to compile a database of the average and maximum budgets of buyers.
“A constituent of mine is particularly concerned that the practice of collecting such information may constitute price fixing. As such, the Authority needs to investigate it without delay.
“It’s particularly concerning that this is happening when people are not even bidding on houses, but actually just hoping to a view a property. The estate agents aren’t giving a price on homes for sale, instead they are gathering information to artificially fix the price. This is madness and in the middle of a housing crisis it is insane. This is a really dangerous hole for us to go down, and the State authorities need to step in.
“Reliance on the private housing market has failed. Fine Gael gives €700 million every year to private landlords, instead of building homes. Fine Gael has refused to fund local government to build homes and has instead relied on the failed housing market. Local authorities spent over €125m buying new homes from private developers in 2018, paying a stiff premium above what it would cost to build them directly. As well as being in cahoots with the investors, they are also on the side of the estate agents trying to squeeze as much profit as possible out of people desperate to buy homes.
“Housing is a fundamental human right that underpins every aspect of life and wellbeing. This housing crisis has been created by years of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil poor policies and legislation. This is the crisis that they have created and allowed to spiral. I’m calling on the Competition Authority to investigate the practices carried out by estate agents and end this profiteering and speculation on homes.”