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REIWA Slams Landgate Price Hike

15 June 2011
The Real Estate Institute of Western Australia has slammed the decision by Landgate to increase the cost of title searches on properties by 26 per cent.
 
REIWA President Alan Bourke said the jump of $5 per search may seem modest, but would impact on agents who dealt with thousands of title searches every year for their clients.
 
“Most administrative charges usually increase by CPI, but a jump of 26 per cent is indefensible,” Mr Bourke said. According to State Budget papers tabled last week, Landgate acknowledges a sharp decline in activity in the property market yet appears to have made little effort to adjust its business model in response.
 
“The property market has operated at 25 per cent below average levels for two of the past three years, but Landgate has not adjusted its staffing to reflect this.
 
“The available work for Landgate has dropped by around 25 per cent over the last year, yet it only proposes to shed nine staff, or just over 1 per cent of its total workforce,” Mr Bourke said.
 
Recent budget papers reveal that the 2011-12 Landgate budget is more than the previous financial year due to higher salaries and superannuation costs.
 
“So as Landgate’s expenses went up and property transactions went down, it failed to trim its excess staff accordingly and now wants to slug the users of its services to cover for this mismanagement,” Mr Bourke said.
 
“State Treasury is anticipating that the property market will return to normal levels within three years which means Landgate will reap at least another $375,000 a year from the property sector along with the projected $2.1 billion which property buyers will pay to the Government in transfer duties in 2014-15.
 
“On the face of this, it’s hard to justify a 26 per cent increase in Landgate’s fees,” Mr Bourke said.
 
Mr Bourke said Landgate had the property sector and community over a barrel because it operated as a monopoly in the area of title data.
 
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