A recent Huffington Post Canada article reported on a compelling phenomenon: “recycled” real estate listings that could be skewing Canadian housing market data.

According to the Huffington Post, a subscriber-only-access article in the Globe and Mail first revealed this trend. Real estate agents in Vancouver are “recycling” listings — i.e. pulling homes that aren’t selling off the market, and then bringing them back as “new” listings at a lower price.

In turn, these “recycled” listings could be skewing some real estate data. For instance, there are some real estate market data reports that rely on MLS listings and sales for their findings. The issue with doing this is, there can be discrepancies between the MLS data, and what is actually happening in the housing market.

For instance, MLS sold data might show that a sale has closed, but that data is taken weeks before the transfer. Something could change in those critical weeks, meaning the data would no longer be accurate.

The ‘recycled’ real estate listing trend could be skewing data the same way. It makes it seem as if houses are selling quickly, when they’re not. It also makes it appear as though houses aren’t seeing price cuts, when they are.

“Because they are recycling listings, the data consistently paint a prettier picture,” Mortgage Sandbox CEO David Stroud told the Globe.

Huffington Post also said this could have a problematic effect on homeowners, who have no way of knowing how often a home has been listed, so they might think it’s a new listing that will sell quickly. This data manipulation could be pushing people to spend more on a home than they otherwise would have.

What do you think — is this part and parcel of the real estate industry? Or is it an unethical practice that should be stopped?

Whether your opinion of the practice is positive or negative, there is still the real risk that it could be skewing reported real estate data. If you are relying on Canadian housing market trends, the information you’re looking at might be inaccurate and could lead you down the wrong path.

With GeoWarehouse, we have real estate data you can trust. Our data is driven by definite sales registered in land registries. In Ontario, for instance, it’s the Province of Ontario Land Registration Information System (POLARIS). This is the most accurate data available.

You can also access the Teranet-National Bank House Price Index, which uses POLARIS data for the most accurate housing numbers. See the latest HPI report here.

Read the Huffington Post Canada article in full here.

Want access to GeoWarehouse’s real estate data? Become a subscriber. It’s easy — just give us a call at 1-866-237-5937 or visit www.geowarehouse.ca.

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