Canada Needs Open and Standard Real Estate Data
This petition had 64 supporters
Real estate is one of the most important sectors in the Canadian economy. Despite this, Canadians depend on an archaic system, with little transparency to make decisions. The government needs to step in. We urge the Government of Canada to create a system that is transparent, standardized, and independent.
The current system is anything but transparent. It's managed by a number of independent boards that use proprietary methods. To access this data, consumers are required to co-operate with real estate salespeople. This system is far from perfect, and creates an unfair amount of pressure on the consumer. This would be the equivalent of requiring people to sign a contract with a stock broker to get stock prices.
There's no standardization when comparing real estate prices in Canada. This is especially true if you compare data from multiple boards, often for the same region. Many numbers from CREA differ from REBGV, sometimes by tens of thousands of dollars.
This creates a difficult situation for independent analysts. Whose data most accurately represents what buyers/sellers need to know?
There is an inherent bias with the current collection of data. Real estate boards represent sales people, not consumers. Propelling the market forward is of great importance. This can lead to bias, even if unintentional. The only way to address this would be to create an independent body, not subject to this bias.
Keeping these points in mind, we believe that the Government of Canada should take the following steps:
- Create an independent body to manage real estate transaction data.
- Create a system that reduces pricing and region bias, standardizing house price indexes.
- Make the data widely available across the country. It's of great importance that raw data be available for independent analysts to interpret.
- Make it accessible. A number of proprietary data feeds are available, but they're expensive and non-standardized. Typically companies that purchase this data need to charge high rates to recoup costs.
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