“They have to include data from all the information that’s out there, and that will include databases.”
Wakelin Property Advisory director Jarrod McCabe has seen buyers unable to find out how much a property sold for.
“Not being able to determine what a property sold for can influence buyers in terms of what they might be prepared to pay because they don’t know what the market has been prepared to pay for a similar property,” he said.
“Buyers use sale prices to determine whether they should be prepared to stretch a bit more, or not pay up to a certain level.”
At the top end of the property market, a withheld price is the first thing many vendors request, Jellis Craig Stonnington partner Michael Armstrong said.
“Some people have very public jobs, and I sympathise on that front with people not wanting others to know what is personal information,” he said, adding the trend was a particular Melbourne trait.
“There’s a counterbalance to say the market functions more freely when accurate information is available to everyone.”
In practice, he said buyer’s advocates and valuers ask agents for withheld prices as part of their research, and in situations where a trusted relationship exists an agent may share information where they know their trust will not be abused.
He said agents are duty bound to put the most relevant comparable sales on their Statement of Information, and that can include undisclosed results.
Real Estate Institute of Victoria president Adam Docking said withheld prices are a “tiny, tiny part of the market” and often due to family reasons, a divorce or a deceased estate.
He noted that prices become public later, after settlement.
“It’s just for privacy – neighbours, ex-boyfriends, whatever, anybody who wants to know what a property sold for wants to know straight away,” he said.
“By the time it’s released through the Valuer General maybe they’ve forgotten.”
He added agents, in practice, ring another agent and ask for a withheld price if it’s useful for an appraisal, and the agent would then reply with the price and a request not to use it in their marketing.
“In metro Melbourne there’s enough sales results to be able to use for a Statement of Information, and if there’s not enough sales results the agent will use their professional judgement to set the price for the SOI without using direct comparables,” he said.
“The welfare of the people involved in the transaction, being the purchasers and the vendors, must be paramount with any decision the government takes with regard to disclosure of prices.”
Wakelin’s Mr McCabe advises buyers to focus on more than just the sale price, and to attend relevant public auctions to find out more detail.
Was there only one person bidding? Were there five bidders? But of those five, did three drop out $300,000 below where the home sold?
“Easier access to information is always going to help,” he said.
“Information is not necessarily knowledge. Just because you’ve got the sale prices, doesn’t necessarily mean you know what the market’s doing.”
Article Source: www.brisbanetimes.com.au