Estate agents may get self-discipline guidelines in bid to improve image

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 April, 1997, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 April, 1997, 12:00am

The Society of Hong Kong Real Estate Agents will study the possibility of issuing self-discipline guidelines to its members after the Housing Branch criticised the industry for causing market confusion.

Secretary for Housing Dominic Wong Shing-wah reportedly expressed dissatisfaction that some estate agents had painted an extremely bullish picture of the property market to generate more business.

He also criticised their participation in speculative activities.

Mr Wong held talks with four real estate agent associations last Friday.

Michael Choi Ngai-min, a council member of the Society of Hong Kong Real Estate Agents, said most property agents in the industry displayed high professional standards.

Mr Choi, who attended the meeting with Mr Wong, defended agents who he said had not only reported high prices in a bullish market, but had also reported low prices during recent sluggish trade.

'It shows the high transparency of the industry,' he said. 'We are only reflecting the genuine market picture.' He said the meeting with Mr Wong focused mainly on the latest market situation after the Government introduced anti-speculation measures last month.

His society would hold a meeting of members to study the possibility of coming up with a set of self-discipline guidelines, he said.

Meanwhile, Mr Choi, who is managing director of Hong Kong Property Services (Agency), said home prices would experience a greater correction and might fall an average of 10 to 13 per cent.

He had predicted earlier that prices would fall 4 to 7 per cent.

Mr Choi believed some major housing estates, including Whampoa Garden in Hunghom, South Horizons in Aberdeen, and Kingswood Villas in Tin Shui Wai, would suffer the most with prices likely to drop up to 15 per cent.

Recent prices in major housing estates had fallen 10 per cent from peak levels, he said.

Hong Kong Property Services recently conducted a survey among 827 prospective home-buyers.

It said about one-third of respondents intended to hold back their flat purchase plans in anticipation of price declines.