The Queensland Law Society (QLS) criticised online property exchange PEXA’s fees that serve as the main deterrent for digital real estate settlements.
A GlobalX research showed that a majority of lawyers and conveyancers support the move to electronic conveyancing, yet prolonged delays and small-scale implementation hamper the use of PEXA. In response, the state government denied its involvement in holding back the industry.
While the root cause of delays for rolling out a clear strategy on e-conveyancing remains uncertain, one thing is certain: Law firms in Queensland are losing to their competition in other states. The registry in New South Wales, for instance, has already issued a timeline for implementing e-conveyancing. All property transfers are expected to be digital by 2019.
On the other hand, PEXA CEO Marcus Price said digital property transfers in Queensland only account for 1% of settlements, as opposed to an estimated 6% in other states. Despite this number, QLS President Christine Smyth said that clients and state practitioners would bear the costs from using PEXA. This subsequently leads them to think twice about using the online exchange system.
In Townsville, a law firm may need to charge an additional estimated fee of $150 for buyers and $130 for sellers. Some conveyancers are already charging low prices for services, which means adding the PEXA fees can be a significant turn-off.
Still, GlobalX CEO Peter Maloney said that the state should provide a clear guide for property lawyers as soon as possible. This will make it easier to do business since the current scenario of a lawyer working in Queensland, who also settles a property in New South Wales, will need to follow a ‘two state, two system’ arrangement.
Digital property settlement is expected to streamline transfers and reduce inaccuracies. Do you think the Queensland government is doing a good job for its implementation?