Top agents and homebuyers in the US are embracing the transparency that comes with the internet, sharing as much information as they can, a senior US property industry executive has said.
“Websites and content out there which had previously been kept private, and which you had to be a subscriber to get to, is now available to the masses,” said George Livermore, group executive, data and analytics at US-based CoreLogic.
CoreLogic, which owns RP Data, is a financial, property and consumer information, analytics and services company.
“One of the things you can see with a lot of the consumer direct sites that are out there, and there are plenty of them - and we are partners with plenty of them - is that it is easy to find properties today if you are a consumer and it is easy to get connected with an agent, whereas that would have been a more complicated process even five years ago.”
Mr Livermore, who was in Australia recently, told Real Estate Business that it was “standard” for agents and consumers to have properties listed and marketed via as many internet sites as possible.
The internet was also making the entire buying and selling process more transparent, he added.
“There is a lot more transparency if you will around what’s for sale, what deals are there that I can go find, and so there has been an extreme interest in getting as much content as possible around imagery, around aerial photography…it just keeps getting better in that area, and most of the sophisticated agents and the successful agents want more, as much as they can get.
“[This was] opposed to the past where they wouldn’t want any information that could potentially tip their deal over,” he continued.
“They are still worried about that, but that has been more than offset by this broad distribution of the information [that] brings more clients.”
Mr Livermore's comments come shortly after top selling agent Garth Makowski, director and sales manager at Harcourts Dougmal Campbelltown, told Real Estate Business that his agents were encouraged to share their sales data with prospective vendors. Mr Makowski emphasised that while he and his team of 10 kept track of market share numbers, it was their own performance numbers that were the most powerful selling tool.
Mr Livermore said the US property market was improving.
“We’re seeing recovery in some areas, [although] recovery is a relative term from where we have come. So recovery to us means that the shadow inventory is decreasing.”
The industry was waiting to see whether this year’s prime selling season would be better than last year’s.
“The buying season for us is starting about now and goes through summer,” he said.
“It’s when kids are out of school and it’s sort of our time. People shop for homes right now and they get their transaction done, it’s a good time to do it.
“We didn’t have a buying season last year, it was a terrible year. It was really flat and it was the first time ever that we really saw that take place. So we are hoping there will be a season this year.
“Sentiment is a little better. It’s not like everybody is extremely happy now because we still have high unemployment and it is still a tough economy. There is some positive sentiment out there and we hope there will be a spike in resale and new home sales.”
He added that foreclosures were off their peak, and from a broader economic standpoint, the unemployment rate – which sits at 8.2 per cent, seasonally adjusted - was heading in the right direction.