News Archive : Japan Real Estate

Monday, November 14, 2005

New Web site to give price info for pre-owned homes

New Web site to give price info for pre-owned homes
2005/11/14, The Daily Yomiuri, page 8, 401 words

New Web site to give price info for pre-owned homes
In an attempt at increased transparency in real estate pricing, a Web site is to be launched next autumn by the industry to provide potential buyers with the market prices of pre-owned properties.
Real Estate Information Network System (REINS), which is run by a group of real estate agencies, will provide users with the latest market prices for used houses and apartments on the site.
Currently, consumers have to rely on advertisements to determine the prices of pre-owned properties, but it is difficult to determine if they are proper valuations.
By releasing market prices on the Web site, the organization will provide useful information to both potential buyers and sellers, allowing them to conclude the process smoothly.
The organization also hopes to prevent disputes between buyers and estate agents over prices.
Currently, REINS organizations are operating in eastern and western Japan, in addition to the Chubu and Kinki regions. Users of the planned site will have access to information from all areas, according to sources.
Under the new system, site users will be able to search for properties based on a number of criteria, including the type of building, location, size and age.
They then will get a list of properties that match the set conditions, including the sale prices and size of the properties.
To protect the personal information of those involved in the transactions, details such as the names of the previous owners will not be provided.
Although the organization currently releases average market prices for different locations and sizes, it does not provide market prices for individual properties.
The organization will use internal data on real estate deals divulged by the agencies. The system is set for full operation from April 2007 after testing next autumn, the sources said.
The Construction and Transport Ministry will finance the system to develop it.
Compared with the United States, the market for used properties in Japan is relatively small, and it is uncommon for Japanese to change dwellings.
Many elderly people whose children have left the nest tend to remain in large houses, while young families raising children often find that their homes are too small.
In such a situation, observers have pointed out the need to encourage people to change houses to ones that better suit their family size.
The new system is expected to revitalize the secondhand property market.