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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2003 Week 2 Hansard (4 March) . . Page.. 465 ..

Nominal Defendant (ACT)-2002 Annual Report

Mr Wood presented the following paper:

Road Transport (General) Act, pursuant to section 216-The Nominal Defendant (Australian Capital Territory) 2002 Annual Report, dated 13 February 2003.

Petition-out of order

Mr Wood , presented the following paper:

Petition-out of order

Belconnen-Maintenance of youth services by the Warehouse club-Mr Wood (35 citizens).

Real estate industry

Discussion of matter of public importance

MR SPEAKER: I have received a letter from Mr Hargreaves proposing that a matter of public importance be submitted to the Assembly, namely:

The unethical practice of 'gazumping' in the real estate industry, especially in light of the current housing situation.

MR HARGREAVES (3.37): Mr Speaker, I raised in an adjournment debate in the last Assembly, I think-it may have been early in this one-the immoral practice of gazumping. Today I want to draw the 5th Assembly's attention to the problem. Gazumping is driven by an ACT real estate market experiencing significant growth fuelled by high demand and a low supply of residential properties.

Demand for ACT properties has risen, prices have risen and the number of consumers being gazumped is also on the rise. Gazumping is not illegal in the ACT, nor in any other jurisdiction, but for many consumers it is a highly immoral and deceitful practice that causes significant distress and financial loss for buyers. Trust is an important element in every relationship, including that between a buyer and a seller. When a seller dishonours their promise to sell, all trust is lost.

Gazumping is not where a seller rejects a buyer's offer to buy a house; gazumping is where a seller breaks their promise to sell the house to the buyer after they have accepted the buyer's offer. A buyer cannot be gazumped unless the seller has accepted the buyer's offer and that seller subsequently accepts a higher offer from another buyer. It is, in effect, auction by stealth.

In the ACT gazumping occurs because of the time gap between the verbal acceptance of the offer by the seller and the written contract being signed by both parties. It can be anything up to two or three weeks before a binding written agreement is made and, within that period, there is a wide window of opportunity for higher offers to be made to the seller.

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