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Professionalization of the real estate agent occupation – A comparative study of Australia and Sweden

Rickard Engstrom (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)
Neville Hurst (School of Property, Construction and Project Management, RMIT University City Campus, Melbourne, Australia)
Bjorn Berggren (Department of Real Estate and Construction Management, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Article publication date: 7 October 2022

Issue publication date: 9 February 2023

481

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to analyze and compare the level of professionalization of the real estate broker's occupation in Victoria, Australia, and Sweden. As previous studies have indicated that the real estate agent occupation in both regions is experiencing low levels of trust, an analysis of the level of professionalization is warranted.

Design/methodology/approach

The data used in the analysis in this paper have been gathered from a number of different high-quality sources. In Sweden, information has been obtained from the Swedish Real Estate Agents Inspectorate, the Association of Swedish Real Estate Agents and the Swedish Real Estate Agents Association, and Real Estate Statistics. For the Victorian case, information has been obtained from the Real Estate Institute of Victoria, which is the leading professional body in organizing real estate agents. Furthermore, information has also been sourced from the Business Licensing Authority as well as Consumer Affairs Victoria. The focus of the analysis has been on the institutional changes of the real estate profession, including the education required to become an agent, the legislation and supervision of real estate agents and the role of the professional bodies that organize the real estate agents. 10;

Findings

The analysis shows that both the real estate brokerage market in Victoria and Sweden could be characterized as mature. Using the definition of a profession from Millerson (1964), the authors conclude that the brokerage industry has a number of the characteristics of a profession such as a long albeit interdisciplinary education, strong professional bodies, code of conduct and some level of self-regulation.

Research limitations/implications

This research examines two countries, both considered mature in their house market process. Findings may be very different if the research methodology was applied to house markets that do not exhibit the same level of regulatory control.

Practical implications

Even though the real estate occupation can be considered as a semi-profession, there is still room for improvement when it comes to how consumers perceive the trustworthiness of real estate agents. Therefore, the professional bodies ought to strive to find ways on increasing the status and trustworthiness of the profession. These could include increasing the transparency as well as continuing education for its members.

Social implications

Users of real estate services need to have confidence in the skills and expertise of real estate agents they engage. The magnitude of the monies associated with real estate transactions should cause users to seek out agents who are proficient in what they do, and to this end, the professionalism of agents is critical to the provision of accurate and informative information to guide users toward positive and beneficial outcomes.

Originality/value

To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study that analyzes and compares the development of the real estate profession in Victoria and Sweden, using theories from the study of professions.

Keywords

Citation

Engstrom, R., Hurst, N. and Berggren, B. (2023), "Professionalization of the real estate agent occupation – A comparative study of Australia and Sweden", Property Management, Vol. 41 No. 1, pp. 60-83. https://doi.org/10.1108/PM-11-2021-0102

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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