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REA Welcomes Increase In Licensed Branch Managers Within Real Estate Sector

REA reports that the number of licensed real estate Branch Managers1 has grown by 21.6% in the last 12 months, despite a gradual decline in the total number of licensed real estate professionals.

REA says the increase in Branch Managers is good news for the real estate profession, given the important consumer protection role they play. Along with Agents, Branch Managers supervise real estate salespeople to ensure real estate agency work is conducted competently and meets the requirements of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 (the REA Act).

REA Chief Executive Belinda Moffat says that under the REA Act every real estate Salesperson must be properly supervised by someone holding either a Branch Manager or Agent’s licence. Working with the industry to increase the overall number of Branch Managers in the sector has been a regulatory priority for REA.

“In 2022 REA worked to develop and introduce a new NZQA-approved Branch Manager qualification, alongside the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand and The Skills Organisation. We wanted to see strong growth in the number of supervisors in the profession to support high standards of conduct. Through supervision, Branch Managers are able to support salespeople to identify and resolve issues to avoid problems occurring in a transaction. This is particularly important in a challenging real estate market where transactions can be complex.”

“A significant and sustained increase in Branch Manager licences is a key outcome REA intended from the qualifications review. It is also a positive sign of the real estate sector seeking to strengthen its compliance practices, and is good news for real estate consumers,” Ms Moffat says.

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To support supervision practices across the real estate sector REA issued a Supervision Standard in 2017, and provided further guidance on formal supervision in 2023.

This is a key part of our work as the conduct regulator of the real estate profession to support agencies to meet their regulatory obligations and build trust and confidence in the real estate sector.

Reduction in overall licence numbers

The increase in Branch Managers is significant given that it has been achieved during a period of gradual decline in overall real estate licence numbers.

Latest data issued by the Real Estate Authority shows a 21.6% annual increase in Branch Manager class licences to 490 as at 30 April 2024. This is the second successive year of growth in this licence class, following a 7% increase between April 2022 and April 2023.

REA issues four classes of licence under s36 of Real Estate Agents Act: Agent, Branch Manager, Salesperson, Agent Company licence.

The total number of active real estate licences has reduced by 3.7 % in the 12 months since April 2023, with numbers having peaked at 16,902 in September 2022 following an influx of new licensees during the preceding two years. Total active licences and new licence applications are now returning to levels more in line with early 2020.

Ms Moffat says that from a regulatory perspective preventing consumer harm is preferable to addressing complaints after harm has occurred. The supervision provided by Branch Managers and Agents is key to harm prevention.

“In the interests of all buyers and sellers, REA works to support the real estate sector to maintain the high standards of professional conduct that consumers deserve. We appreciate the critical work of Branch Managers and other sector leaders towards this objective. Of course, while supervision is key, if conduct does not meet the standards expected, then REA can address consumer concerns through the complaints and discipline process we oversee.”

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