Poland on the move

The Polish member associations of CEPI have strengthened their commitment to the network and thereby give expression to a real interest in Europe: they now regularly participate in meetings and general assemblies with large delegations, submit new projects, contributed actively to the European Real Estate Week in January, will host the General Assembly in 2012. PREF, PFSZN and PFZN are clearly in the ascendance. At the end of February, the Polish Real Estate Federation facilitated a meeting to discuss international challenges and needs pertaining to lifelong learning. At a national level, the associations are confronted with a possible deregulation of the profession of real estate agent.

The fast increasing involvement of the Polish associations in the European network first of all reflects the maturation of the Polish real estate market, an increased level of organisation of the professions and an awareness of the international character of the Polish market. Czech, Hungarian and Slovak associations would have no difficulty in recognising these trends as well. The prime commercial real estate investments in Poland are from abroad, benefiting not only the national but increasingly regional capital cities. Out of over 20.000 agents and another 20.000 property managers, almost a fifth have chosen to join a professional association, to speak with one voice and develop initiatives to enhance quality service to the client.

It can easily be understood why these professionals express concern about the current political debate and proposal to deregulate the profession of real estate agent. The country is in need of continued efforts to consolidate the profession and provide reference points to consumers. To act as if the profession is ready to face full competition at national and international level reflects excessive confidence. To behave as if the Polish consumer is already in a position to get standard services from a majority of real estate agents does not recognise the time needed to create references and benchmarks; it is key to have standards for services as it is most important for the consumers to be well aware of what they can expect from real estate professionals.

CEPI is convinced that the regulation of the profession of real estate agent is still vital in Poland to accompany the maturation of the real estate market and professions. As in the Netherlands, deregulation could become possible if and when prior regulatory measures have enabled and supported necessary and sufficient self regulation initiatives from the sector to ensure standardised and recognised quality service to clients.