Whistleblower questions reliability of statistics published by Vancouver real estate board

By ThinkPol Staff

A real estate industry whistleblower is questioning the reliability of Vancouver real estate statistics released by the realtors board.

The insider claimed that Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver’s unwillingness to subject their statistics to independent scrutiny may be one reason that the board “is sending their lawyers after anyone who gets access to the raw data.”

“Just ask them for the raw data and/or independent audit reports,” the source told ThinkPol. “I’m willing to bet the farm that they’ll never do give out that information”

We requested REBGV either send us the raw data so that we could verify the board’s statistics, or to provide us with an independent audit report.

REBGV ignored our request, but defended the accuracy of its data.

“We follow rigorous processes, developed over many years, to ensure the accuracy, integrity, and consistency of our statistical reporting” Communications Director Craig Munn told ThinkPol. “If someone is concerned about information in our reports, we’re always open to hearing that feedback and reviewing the information.”

Munn recommended that we take a look at MLS Home Price Index (HPI) benchmark prices, saying that “We find that it’s a more accurate indicator of real estate pricing trends over time.”

We were unable to calculate MLS HPI ourselves without raw and intermediate data from REBGV, as it involves a number of manual data “scrubbing” steps[1]http://www.rebgv.org/sites/default/files/HPI%20Methodology2012.pdf.

Instead, as a proxy, ThinkPol calculated the ratio of sold prices to assessed value (SPAV) for single family homes in the region using data published by BC Assessment and information provided to us by the industry insider.


One interesting finding we made was that SPAV showed a marked drop in August 2016, the month when the foreign buyer tax came into force, while the MLS HPI did not.

Between January 2017 and June 2017, SPAV graph shows the same general trend as the MLS® HPI[2]http://www.rebgv.org/sites/default/files/REBGV-Stats-Pkg-November-2017.pdf.

After June 2017, however, HPI holds steady while SPAV shows five months of decline.

“I’ve dealt with snake oil salespeople in every profession but none as consistently as the ones in my industry,” the real estate industry insider told ThinkPol. “They thrive on deception and fraud.”

“They need to hide the truth from the public to drive the narrative that real estate can only go up,” they added. “Anyone will who tries to educate the masses will immediately receive threats, legal and/or physical, as the industry desperately tries to hide the fact that the party’s over.”

The insider welcomed the decision by the The Federal Court of Appeal to upheld a lower court’s decision ordering Toronto Real Estate Board to make detailed financial information about home sales publicly available[3]Toronto Real Estate Board v. Commissioner of Competition, 2017 FCA 236 (CanLII) http://canlii.ca/t/hp34l.

“A home purchases is the single biggest purchase most Canadian families make in their lives,” the whistleblower said. “I’m glad to see the that days of the real estate industry deliberately withholding information that would allow Canadians to make an informed decision are numbered.”

ThinkPol needs your help. While other media outlets are content reproducing real estate industry press releases, we carry out painstaking analysis of real estate data, spending hours combing through the data. And the data isn’t free. Each title search alone costs us $12.

Please consider chipping in to help ThinkPol.

Note to REBGV ‘lawyers’: All information in this article is publicly available.

[Photo Credit: BC Assessment]

References   [ + ]

1. http://www.rebgv.org/sites/default/files/HPI%20Methodology2012.pdf
2. http://www.rebgv.org/sites/default/files/REBGV-Stats-Pkg-November-2017.pdf
3. Toronto Real Estate Board v. Commissioner of Competition, 2017 FCA 236 (CanLII) http://canlii.ca/t/hp34l

9 Responses to Whistleblower questions reliability of statistics published by Vancouver real estate board

  1. r/vanhousing says:

    If you’re on reddit, please join us on r/vanhousing for uncensored discussion on housing issues.


  2. Just Saying the True Facts says:

    Your Whistleblower seems to be nothing more than a jaded ex-realtor looking for a story. It was immediately obvious to everyone the result of the Foreign Buyer Tax that was implemented in Aug 2016. How was that surprising?

    “A home purchases is the single biggest and best investment most Canadian families make in their lives,” That’s what should really be said.

    Why are you so focused on the immediate impact. Find a home, buy it, live in it and in 10-20 years your home will be worth an immense amount more.

    By telling people that theres going to be a correction you are just guiding people the wrong direction. That’s list saying don’t buy Bitcoin when it was at $500 cause theres going to be a bubble. Look at it now.

    The END.

    • nonconfidencevote says:

      Let me guess.
      YOU are a Realtor.
      Annoyed that someone in your “profession” has the audacity to say that maybe…now is not the time to buy a house.

      Lets see.
      New Foriegn Buyers tax: Check
      New tougher rules Jan 1st, 2018 for qualifying for a Mortgage: check
      Single Family Housing sales( and prices) dropping: Check
      Condo mania at Fever pitch: Check
      Interest rates expected to rise in 2018: Check
      Revenue Canada cracking down on undeclared “mortgage helpers”: Check
      Vancouver govt trying to tax “vacant homes/suites”: check

      In a nutshell anyone buying a home or condo as an investment right now…..missed the boat.
      Its all down river now.

      Not to worry Mr/Ms Realtor.
      You make commissions even when the seller loses money.

      • Just Saying the True Facts says:

        Wrong….I’m simply a homeowner who was told the exact same thing last year. But was guided by a Realtor to just get into the market. A market that was said it was at the top and on the decline.

        I have since gained $250,000 in value in this year and the prices across the board give gone up.

        By listening to the media spins story in any direction they want only does the general public a disservice. Those who choose to rely on this garbage.

        Trust the friends and family around you. Know that the long term growth of any true investment with outweigh the short term.

        So keeping marking check on your box. Keep seeing your rent go up. Keep trying to save for that home and get left behind.

        That’s your prerogative.

        • nonconfidencevote says:

          I sold and invested.
          Doing very well.
          And you bought within the last year….Well since the “peak” was in March of 2017 you paid too much

          Talk to me about your “$250k Profit” AFTER you sell.
          Cause what your “friends” and ‘Realtors” tell you its worth……pffffft.
          Sell now and lock in the $250k profit OR in todays reality…..be horrified to realize you house is worth less than what you paid for it.
          Sucks to be you.

          AFTER the sale Brudda.
          Everything else is talk…….

        • Ted says:

          There you go, your response says it all. Realtors will always tell you that eventually the value of your house will go up blah blah blah. I can tell you there is no way you are up $250k if you bought last year anywhere in metro vancouver. Prob down $250k.
          I buy flip and build 6-9 properties a year and i can tell you 2018 it not going to be good. A lot of builders that i know are panicking and trying to get out but no new house are selling, they are begging. I dont know how the real estate board comes up with their numbers bu i can tell you that their is hardly anyone at open house anymore. Standard lots in east van were selling for $1.5-$1.6m 2 years ago. Now they are down to $1.2-$1.3m. I predict under a million in 2018 but dont worry eventually they will go up some day .

          Merry Christmas everyone

          • nonconfidencevote says:

            Ted speaks the truth.

            Unlike “True Facts” regurgitating the Realtor “buy now or be left out forever” propaganda.

            New home buyers just dont want to hear REAL FACTS right now.
            Not to worry.
            The True Facts of 2018 will set you free.
            Just not free of your underwater mortgage payments.

            Merry Christmas Ted.

    • Ted says:

      Prices have already dropped 18% for standard lots in east van from the hight of 2 years ago. Prepare for 10-15% drop in prices in the new year as interest rates go up, lending tightening, speculation and investment confidence tanks and restrictions in overseas cash.
      Standard east van lots were selling for $700k 4years ago. Lots in the new year will start selling for under $1m in east van.
      Merry Christmas.

  3. nonconfidencevote says:


    I just thought of a new name for the Vancouver Housing sales market….

    A Zombie Market

    Cause it doesnt know it dead yet!


    Pretty funny eh ?

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