A house is probably the largest purchase one will make in a lifetime. According to the Construction and Planning Agency of Ministry of the Interior (MOI), the housing affordability has come to the record-low level in the third quarter of 2016. Everyone is asking how to buy the ideal house with the most reasonable price. Is the MOI’s real estate transaction database believable? Does one always have to cut half the purchase price to have a good deal? Pay a visit to “House+” and find out the bottom price the dealers do not want to disclose.
Dr. Shiao-Rung Teng from the Anfu Group pointed out that it has always been a problem that Taiwan’s real estate market is not transparent enough and there is an information gap between the buyers and the sellers resulting in many follow-up problems. The Anfu Group therefore decides to launch a financial data-statistics-big data-based house appraisal platform – House+ that integrates Open Data from the government and the private sector, such as the MOI’s real estate transaction database, the geological information cloud platform and google map to provide a comprehensive service for those who are thinking about buying a house.
Given so many different kinds of appraisal services and mortgage solutions already provided by real estate dealers and banks, what makes House+ different? “Accuracy of estimated price and location as well as the types of houses are the keys!” said Dr. Teng, emphasizing that plenty of variations that will affect the house price are taken into consideration in order to build a precise appraisal model. Many other service providers also collect transaction information and price history of a specific part of road or location, but still the estimates fail to reflect the current price of the target communities or items, and difficult for the consumers to decide whether the price makes sense or not. Besides, at what point of time when the information is made available also makes a difference. For example, the price one sees in May might be the one announced in February or even earlier than that. The consumer only gets to see the “price at one point of time”, but not the “current price”. In response to the aforementioned problems, House+ creates its own automatic appraisal model that processes data in a computational way to rule out abnormal prices, and combines statistical and mathematical methods to make predictions of future trends. “We are doing so well in terms of MAPE and hit rate that our performance even goes beyond international standards.”
Dr. Teng believes that Open Data-inspired services can transcend any borders. The only question is how you are going use it. For instance, we all can access house transaction data from the MOI’s website, but not anyone is able to review, filter and analyze those big numbers like House+ that only collects the most valuable data to go through scientific and computational processing to rule out some abnormal data that might mislead the results. In this way, House+ can maximize the effects of its data and makes its estimated housing price a true reflection to the market price.
House+ now is mainly for appraising apartments, mansions and condos. Its accurate appraisal service has attracted more than 6,000 members. Many real estate companies and banks are also looking for opportunities to work with
House+ in the future. To provide a more comprehensive service, it is also planning to include the appraisal of an entire house into its services and will launch rent and housing price prediction services in the near future to create an even bigger clientele. “We hope to become Taiwan’s Zillow (leading real estate marketplace in the U.S) and makes housing information more transparent and home price more reasonable in Taiwan. By lowering the costs of searching a house, it will be easier for people to find their dream houses.”