Is more data really what the industry wants?

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There are frequent calls for more data to be made available especially in terms of assessing the potential for corrections in the market but is it really in the best interests of the industry? In some areas of Canada, there is more data available than others. In Nova Scotia for example, two real estate boards voted to allow realtors to catalogue a wide array of information on homes from its sales history to garbage collection days. A question that is often raised though is whether allowing more data to be published online could reduce the necessity for some of the professional services involved in home-buying. If consumers are able to do more of the groundwork themselves will the industry suffer? This December the Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board will lock horns over the issue of data availability. A similar situation in the US led to property sites which allow sellers to ‘cut out the middle man’ but figures suggest that the realtors have not lost out significantly and many actually use the sites themselves. In the UK, property listings sites are the ‘Google’ of home buying but again real estate agents have boosted sales by using the sites and can negotiate lower rates for listings than individual sellers can. There is a strong likelihood in this age of online dominance that we will see more online access to data; the challenge is to strike a balance that will allow consumers more information while protecting the industry. Read the full story.

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