Housing market needs more relevant data

Neither buyers nor sellers have enough information to know if they’re making a wise decision, according to an article in the Vancouver Sun.

Harvey Enchin says there are few objective measures to guide decision-making.

That’s not to say there are no statistics about the housing market. It’s just that they’re not as useful to the buyer or seller of property as they are to real estate agents who earn commissions on both sides of a transaction.

In a note last week entitled Flying Blind, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce economist Benjamin Tal said: “the gap between the importance of the real estate market to the economy and the lack of publicly available information on it is mind-boggling.”

The Canadian Real Estate Association provides a mountain of data every month on sales activity, average prices and number of new listings. It also publishes the MLS Home Price Index, which tracks prices in 10 metropolitan markets. Still, as sophisticated as it is, the HPI is of little help in deciding whether, where or when to buy a home.

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