Sunday, October 7, 2012

Is the Real Estate Industry starting to take legal action against local bloggers? - Updated



Last Thursday we told you how the Financial Post had started to question the methods being used to by the Real Estate Industry to calculate price decline figures for the real estate market.

Headlined 'As Canada's housing market slows, industry tries to paint positive picture', the Post took direct aim at those 'suspicious' numbers and concluded:
"Organized real estate is unable, it seems, to admit the glory days may be behind it."
The Post made this statement because the lengths that local real estate boards are going to these days to diminish the depth of declines in real estate values borders on the comical.

The latest outrageous twisting of statistics, the Post said, comes from the Toronto Real Estate Board.
This month’s gem comes from the Toronto Real Estate Board: It complained September didn’t have enough working days — too many weekends. 
I always thought people bought homes on weekends, but it seems the transactions are registered during the week. 
“The number of transactions was down 21% in comparison to September 2011,” said TREB in a release. “However, it is important to note that there were two fewer working days in September 2012.” 
This logic has produced a new measure from TREB: Sales were down only 12.5% — not the actual 21% — from a year ago on a “working-day basis.”
Presto-change-o and a 21% decline becomes only 12.5%.

The mere fact a real estate board would even attempt such nonsense shows you the level of panic permeating the Industry right now.

And the manipulation doesn't end there. As the Post notes:
Vancouver’s real estate board likes to tout what it calls the MLS HPI (home price index) composite benchmark price for all residential properties. It was down 0.8% to $606,100 in September from a year ago and off 2.3% over the past three months. 
Doesn’t sound too bad. 
But when you pull out actual sales data, you find year-over-year prices in August in Canada’s most expensive housing market were off 6.9%. For the first two-thirds of the year, prices fell 7.3%. 
The decline is happening; it’s the severity that seems to be under dispute.
It seems the Industry will do all it can to mask that decline for as long as possible.

But is that obsession now extending to silencing blogs in an attempt to keep price changes and declines under wraps?

The question is being asked in the wake of the disappearance of a Vancouver area blog that charted MLS price changes.

The website address of the blog in question is http://re.olvius.com

Up until last week this is the home page you would get when you went to that site (click on image to enlarge):


It was an incredible site that allowed users to chart daily MLS price changes.

This was significant because, if an MLS listing was withdrawn and then relisted, you had no idea if the property had seen significant price drops.  With this blog, you could see what had been going on with a property through it's various listings.

http://re.olvius.com went AWOL this week.

Now when you go to the site, all you see is this:


It has the blogging community wondering if the site was issued a cease and desist order by the Mulitiple Listings Service.

As Abraham Lincoln famously said, "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."

Did the Industry move to shut this site down to keep the information from reaching the public?

As yet we are not sure.  

To coin another famous phrase: perhaps desperate times call for desperate measures?

UPDATE

As noted in our comments section (hat tip Steve), another real estate blog Canada Bubble (canada bubble dot com) appears to have gone off-line this week as well.

(Note: while this site has gone off-line, there have not been any updates to the site since August 2012).

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14 comments:

  1. where can i sign up for the class action lawsuit against mls? and when is
    zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com zillow.com
    going to be available in Canada?

    ReplyDelete
  2. www.canadabubble.com is gone too!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would not be surprised by this censorship. The RE cartels shut down VHB a few years ago as well.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The cartel will do what ever they want look at smart meters banished in parts of Europe because they have been proven to be carcinogenic.

    The meters aren't even properly certified in Canada, some are starting fires, but they will insure down the road that you will have to buy all new 'Smart Appliances' that they can "Talk" to.

    Why?$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think "Vancouver Price Drop" has met the same fate. No posts for more than 5 days

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not quite sure how this is related, but it probably is. I just went to your blog using Google Chrome and was redirected to a warning "Danger: Malware Ahead!
    Google Chrome has blocked access to this page on whispersfromtheedgeoftherainforest.blogspot.ca.
    Content from www.canadabubble.com, a known malware distributor, has been inserted into this web page. Visiting this page now is very likely to infect your computer with malware.
    Malware is malicious software that causes things like identity theft, financial loss, and permanent file deletion."

    I don't know if the link to canadabubble is the only thing it is seeing or if this is a coordinated attempt to shut down all real estate related blogs....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Perhaps I'm a virus to some in real estate?

      Delete
  7. what about UNIVS where price reduction no longer produces the % changes?

    ReplyDelete
  8. Also seems they have begun to spam Craigslist with ads for homes at zero down.

    ReplyDelete
  9. All sites with a link to canadabubble.com are being blocked by default. Looks like someone was successful at getting that site onto the censor list from which Google Chrome draws its malware list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting. Thanks for the update. Tomorrow I will temporarily remove the link and see what happens.

      Delete
  10. plung o meter has no updates since aug.....

    ReplyDelete
  11. Vancouver Price Drop is back in business... Some West Van properties down 40%... Ouch, that's a swift kick in the yam sack.

    ReplyDelete
  12. vancouver real estate is not good to invest your time and money in these days.. its better to look out for some other option

    ReplyDelete