PHOTO: Auction sign. Source: rnz.co.nz
Real estate agents are being accused of fuelling the red-hot property market by manipulating so-called “estimated prices” on websites.
Consumer advocates warn it is a case of “buyer beware” and urge those looking for a home to do their homework first.
Edward and his wife have been looking for a home in Wellington for a couple of years “on and off”.
“We start looking, and then prices shoot up too much and we stop … until we go another round.”
In the last three years, residential property prices in the region have ballooned 51.4 per cent – from $518,000 in 2017 to $785,000.
An avid follower of the website homes.co.nz, Edward was horrified to learn it was a simple matter for agents to bump up the estimated value of a property by uploading their own appraisals.
“And quite often it goes way above the market rate for that area.”
In a blog post, which dropped off the website when it was re-platformed, marketing manager Fiona D’Silva Moiyadi, gives step-by-step instructions for modifying HomesEstimates.
Buyers expected estimates on third-party websites to be impartial, and letting people with a vested interest influence them was distorting the market, Edward said.
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