Haven’t seen this before - on Sales Results page Irish Times, sales prices achieved previously either just stated a price or ‘over’ X amount. In today’s Property Section Sales Results we have the terms ‘under’ and ‘just under’ X amount being used in several places. What is this?? - Can we not understand figures unless they are rounded up to multiples of 5? Is it more economical and cost effective to have a typesetter enter 675 rather than 657? What approximately does ‘under’ or ‘just under’ represent exactly? Would it be 10 euros ‘under’ or 15k ‘under’…
A/ The auctioneer that sold the property was telling lies about how much it went for?
B/ The auctioneer who sold the property told IT the price but they dont believe it?
C/ They are afraid a sellor comes out and says “I didnt get this for my property so wheres the rest of my money”?
D/ They are afraid a sellor comes out and just says the price printed is wrong and want a retraction of that or they’re going to the press complaints body?
OR IS IT THE AUCTIONEERS REALLY JUST DONT WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHAT THE PROPERTY SOLD FOR BECAUSE PRICES CRASHES ARE THE BIGGEST SECRET IN TOWN (BUT DONT TELL ANYBODY)
I wrote a letter to Irish Times yesterday commenting on the way they report house price sales figures. It didn’t get printed today but they sent a prompt response.
“In today’s Irish Times Property Section (April 17, 2008), you purport to give us valuable Sales Results for recent house sales. However, as many of the sales figures achieved are prefaced with either ‘under’, ‘just under’ or ‘over’, this information is rendered meaningless and disingenuous. When, oh when, in this country will the general public be allowed access to REAL house sale prices. If buyers had accurate information about house price sales they would be less wary about going into the market, and sellers would be realistic about asking prices. It’s so crazy it just might work!”
Response from Property Editor: “The letters editor has passed on your email to me and I would like to reply to the comments that you make.
Every week we spend a good deal of time collecting sales results from estate agents in Dublin and around the country. This dates back to the time when there was a high volume of auction property and we reported the sales accordingly. Under the hammer sales results gave an instant snapshot of the market, but in the last 18 months the number of auction results has dropped off dramatically. We have continued to report private treaty results as much as possible. However, we ran into problems with agents reporting prices “in the region of…. “ which in reality turned out to be widely off the market. In some cases, agents had given us price regions that we discovered had been 15 or 20 per cent over actual price achieved.
Since this came to light, we have told agents that we will not report prices described as “in the region of… “ Instead we have asked them to simply say “Under” or “Over”. Thjs, we feel, is a more honest way of reporting the sales. However, we still rely on the agents to provide us with these figures, and they in turn cannot report a figure without getting agreement from the seller.
The system isn’t perfect, but we are confining coverage to the agents who, we feel, are giving us accurate prices.”
Thanks for writing the letter. The response is very illuminating.
You have to wonder whether this contributed to the bubble in it’s own small way. Owner of a house reads that their neighbour’s house sold for region X (when it actually sold for X - 15%), and figures why not put their own house for sale for X + 5%, and so on.
Wow – if that is the case then the Competition Authority and/or the Gardai should be notified. Messing with the market like that is despicable.
What if I was an EA and had my own personal gaff I’d like to sell on the same road as one on my books – I’d max out the price by harnessing every last bit of my sales/manipulation skills and get as many punters/saps bouncing off each other as I possibly could. Then I’d report the sale 10% higher than was actually achieved and put my own gaff on the market a month later!
The IT should be ashamed of themselves too – the so-called “paper of record” (who have a VI in the market by way of a certain internet site) have been complicit in this practice of EAs exxagerating prices. They knew damn well what was going on and chose to ignore it in their quest to maximise their influence, popularity, the success of myhome, and above all, their profits.
Another fine example of the free-for-all gorging by the powerful elite that’s been going on in Ireland for the last 10 years – it’s just the established media this time.
All newspapers face the same dilemmas - the advertisers pay the wages and there is often a conflict of interest that needs to be managed diplomatically. The EAs would argue that the sellers don’t wish the exact amounts to be disclosed. It makes me mad though when we know this is going on, and has been going on for years, then now when the tables are turned, we hear stories of outraged EAs belittling people for making offers 20% below asking price! They only have their colleagues to blame.
The question I would have is if it is acceptable for the paper of record to be reporting these figures at all if they have suspicions over their accuracy. Weasel words “under” or “over” really aren’t acceptable as most people reading will not understand the background story - a large banner which proclaims “advertorial” or “these figures are reported to us by EAs and may bear no reality to actual sales” would be more appropriate.
There was an article in yesterdays Sunday Times Property supplement mentioning the problem with the reporting of prices. An IAVA spokesperson was quoted as saying they want a national database to record actual sales prices. Sorry I don’t have the link…