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How wise are crowds?

Earlier this week I wrote a post about a new build home under construction at 37 Canerouth Drive in the west end of Toronto. As part of that post, I asked people what they thought the home would be valued at when it was completed. There were just under 10 responses (many thanks!) and I thought it was really fascinating to see the ranges.

A lot of you responded in the comment section of the post, but a bunch of the other estimates came in via Facebook, Twitter, and email. It isn’t a huge data set, but I’ve nonetheless consolidated the ones I could remember I received:

$2,375,000
$2,750,000
$1,800,000
$3,000,000
$8,500,000
$2,600,000
$3,500,000
$1,750,000

If you average these estimates, you come to a value of $3.3M. However, the clear outlier is the $8.5M. So let’s take that one out and see how the number changes. If you do that, you then get an average estimate of $2.5M. A pretty big swing.

Now, I don’t know offhand how accurate that number really is, but I’m fascinated by this idea of “the crowd” determining value. Particularly for markets such as housing where supply can be completely heterogeneous and there isn’t a lot of transaction volume to refer back to (compared to other types of markets).

Because my strong belief is that under the right circumstances and with enough data points, this number could end up being hugely accurate. And, it could also be more forward looking since it’s capturing current market sentiment as opposed to being based on historical transaction prices.

If you have any thoughts on this, I’d love to hear from you 🙂

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