URA excludes pricing data on foreign home buying in Realis

10 Nov 2020

Realis’ users, however, can still analyse transactions by nationality against other variables like land tenure and postal district. 

The Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) has excluded certain pricing data on foreign buying in the enhanced version of its Real Estate Information System (Realis) – which was launched last month – leaving gaps on the property market overview, reported The Business Times (BT).

Specifically, the URA removed a function that allows users to analyse caveats by nationality for any given time against price range or against unit price range. Realis’ users, however, can still analyse transactions by nationality against other variables like land tenure and postal district. 

Lam Chern Woon, Senior Director at Edmund Tie (Research and Consulting), said the now-missing functionality enabled users to study the buying behaviour of certain nationalities for a given time frame or locality.

Savills Executive Director for Research and Consultancy Alan Cheong described the missing data as valuable for consultants and academics as it not only helps establish a buyer profile by quantum size, but also allows them to back up anecdotal evidence with hard data. 

“In the age of data science, it is good to provide even more data,” Cheong told BT.

Without such data, analysts would be unable to better capture the price range of some of the foreigners’ bigger buys in recent weeks.

Recommended article: URA Caveat for Property Transactions: What It Is And Why It’s Useful

And while seasoned analysts depend on on-the-ground channel checks as well as their own experience when examining issues, the “nationality/price data is useful to augment what we are seeing on the ground”, said Lam.

“We hope that the data can be made available again.”

Realis is aimed at providing up-to-date, detailed data on the property market, including databases on rental and sales transactions as well as developers’ sales.

Its new version aims to make the platform more accessible and user-friendly, offering new features like data section on monthly developers’ sales, charts and tools to facilitate data analysis and improved search filters.

A URA spokesperson explained that the exclusions of some datasets was due to their low usage rates.

“As part of the review of Realis, we consulted key users, (such as) property data analysts and consultants, on their needs and studied the usage rates of different datasets. We excluded a small number of datasets from the enhanced version due to their very low usage rates,” the spokesperson told BT.

Nonetheless, the URA will continue to review data functions as well as their usage in line with user feedback as part of Realis’ regular updates, added the spokesperson.

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