More Data = Good

By Dave Fratello | September 26th, 2017

We've come a long way from the days of real estate data being hidden from the public.

There was a time when realtors relished their role as real estate data gatekeepers. But data wants to be free.

Now, allow us to brighten your day with the knowledge that much more past-sale data will now be online, free.

Just one month ago, the National Association of Realtors' technology panel voted to loosen the chains on sold property data provided to websites like MB Confidential. Already, we're seeing the change take effect.

The original rule, way-back-when, was that one year's worth of sold data would be available to websites. For a while, it's been 3 years' worth.

Now, the policy is to distribute, at a minimum, all of the sold property data going back to January 1, 2012.

That's more than 5 years' worth of solds, as we write today, and the amount of data will only grow (assuming time moves forward - good bet?), because the rule is tied to that Jan. 1, 2012, date, instead of looking back over an arbitrary period of time.

We already see the extended data pouring into the MB Confidential data pages. In fact, some much older data is even "leaking" onto the pages, as we display 2007 sales, and even earlier ones in some cases.

Pull down the menu from the word "DATA" at the top of the page, and you can see past sales from all of the various areas of Manhattan Beach.

(It looks like we'll have to update the headline on that menu, which still says you get 3 years' worth of data. Instead, now, the data go back, back, back...)

Try this link to all solds for all of Manhattan Beach. Last month, it would have shown sales back through Aug. 2014. Now, it shows almost 1,300 sales, with dates going back to 2010 and even before. We actually show one sale from 2005.

Fair question: Whaddaya gonna do with 5-year-old sales data?

Honest answer: Not sure yet.

First and foremost, we know it's cool. It's better to have more data than to have less. It's not like you get fat from having too much information.

This might be a case of where you need to buy the dune buggy first, then figure out where you can actually drive it.

We'll try to be creative with the longer-term data as it starts to come in and fill out the pages.

It's true that, if you're trying to get a picture of the market for a possible purchase or sale, only about 6-12 months' worth of data is obviously relevant.

But it's good to know your history.

At a time when Redfin, of all people (corporations are people), is out there proposing ways to limit online real estate information (see "Redfin's Anti-Consmer Proposal"), it's good to see that the major trend is still toward more data getting freed up.

When we've figured out a good place to drive this buggy, we'll let you know in a new post.

Suggestions? Email Dave!

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