Telephone service to give data on homes
Estate agents next month will be able to seek information by telephone on properties they are appointed to sell as part of the Estate Agents Authority's efforts to streamline procedures.
Wilson Siu Kwam-wai, technical secretary (operations) for the Rating and Valuation Department, which compiles information on properties, said the age and saleable area of 800,000 private homes would be accessible by phone next month.
The move also would help agents to cut the cost of searching for property information by up to 50 per cent, agents said.
All estate agents will be required to provide comprehensive information on properties they are appointed to sell under the Estate Agents Bill, scheduled to be implemented in January.
Mr Siu also tried to calm owners' anxiety over confusion in the measurement of private homes.
'Our definitions in measuring the saleable area of flats are similar to the theory used by developers,' he said.
He said he expected the use of saleable area instead of the gross floor area would become more popular in the future after the service started.
From the customers' point of view, the use of saleable area would give potential buyers a fair and more accurate measurement, he said.
Centaline Property Agency associate director Ivan Ho Shiu-cheong said he expected the market to follow the Government's definition of saleable area in future to avoid discrepancies.
He said agents and flat owners had been worried by discrepancies between calculations in unit area by the Government and developers, which would affect property valuations.
Argument arose as some owners used the developers' measurement, while others preferred to use the Government's calculations, he said.