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Following the OFT announcement that it intends to launch a market study into home-buying and selling, Peter Bolton King, chief executive of the National Association of Estate Agents, said:

“We welcome the news that the Office of Fair Trading is to launch a market study into the housing market. We will of course work as closely as possible with any study of the market – and we are hopeful that any such study will raise consumer awareness about the reality of the market.

“There is nothing to stop anybody from becoming an estate agent and there is a real need for consumers to be aware of this. Buying a house is probably the largest investment that a person will make, so they should make sure that they use property professionals and that is why we ensure all NAEA members follow our Rules of Conduct.

“The NAEA has long called for appropriate regulation of the market and I hope that the OFT will recommend the same when it concludes its study.

“There is clearly a lot of competition between internet retailers, and many people will certainly initially begin their search for a property online. Again, the same principle applies. To be safe, consumers should use the professional agents.

“Our members made it clear to us over many months that a property retail site run by professionals was needed in the market, which is why earlier this year we launched – a site which is not run to make money, but to ensure high standards for agents and consumers alike.”

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