The value of knowing

During my news roundup the other day, prior to doing any ‘real’ work, I stumbled on a news article regarding the launch of a new website. The spruik ended up slamming the website’s server such that using it on the first day was akin to cutting your front yard with toe clippers. However, what was on offer definitely made the wait beyond business hours worthwhile and come 5 o’clock I was knee deep in exploration…

You see, a curious mind and a tool for knowledge combine to make for dangerous times…

What was this site you ask? It’s called -On The House- and is a new kid on the block in the online real estate game. Now this little gem allows you to obtain the prices paid for a piece of property as far back as the 1970s for QLD (and occasionally further). What’s more, the information can be accessed for an individual property, or expanded to include all properties in a street or suburb! There’s even a radius function to let you look at property prices within a 1km radius of your requested location!

Now the information it provides is not in itself entirely amazing – it is readily available upon payment of a fee – but the ease with which information is readily searched and displayed is nothing short of awesome (and scary). Within a few minutes, you can ascertain what your parents, boss, friends, landlord, arch nemesis, paid for their house or apartment. You can observe trends within a suburb, street or even for the one block of land over the past 2 decades or so. You can see what those properties you had contemplated buying had ‘really’ gone for. Scared yet?

And so an hour or two was spent after work on that fateful day sating my curiousity for information about all things property and priced.

First it was my own house and houses on my street -> the big one with the tennis court recently sold for $2.7 million. 4 more properties on my street are > $1 million.
Next it was what friends and bosses had paid for theirs -> in most cases I actually knew but was using their information to verify the verity of the website’s data.
Next next was the search of all the houses I had rented in the past 8 years -> some appeared, whilst others appear to have been singularly possessed (and not by ghosts) for a number of years.
Next next next was a search of all those places I’d been interested in ‘buying’ (dreamily) to see what they finally went for -> some went for less than I’d hypothesised my bid to be
Penultimately was a suburb search to see where the really expensive houses are – > One house in Highgate Hill recently sold for $4.5 million (more than a lifetime’s earnings at Subway)
Lastly, I realised there was actually an academic utility in this glorious information in observing price pressures placed on towns like Moranbah – a town surrounded by mines and where real estate demand is phenomenal – to help centres like mine quantify the social impacts of (cumulative) mining operations in the region.

Let me sign off by saying the initial glee and euphoria of discovering such a treasure trove of information has worn off; still, how nuts is the internet!?!

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