The Office of Fair Trading is to launch a market report into home buying and selling, it has emerged.

Stakeholders will be invited to air their views, with the study examining traditional estate agency models and alternative ways of buying.

Set to begin early next year, it will seek opinions from the government, consumer groups and industry representatives in order to ensure "an effective, competitive and innovative market".

Welcoming the news, managing director of Keshav Thukuram claimed the investigation was "long overdue".

"It will help ensure that the end customer gets more benefit and better value for money for the high fees that are charged by most estate agents,"he remarked.

However, he said he would like to see the payment practices in the buy-to-let sector included in the study too, as they have "a direct impact"on the behaviour of sales people.

The announcement comes after the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors revealed that interest from buyers in the UK property market had increased for the first time in over two years last month.ADNFCR-2002-ID-18924445-ADNFCR

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