realAs to shake up Australian real estate

'Community-owned' app is expected to reduce buyer stress, as well as save buyers' time and money

A new technology hopes to shake up Australia's real estate industry by changing the way Australians search for and buy homes.

A new app known as realAs, or website realAs.com, predicts the sale price of a home – usually within 5 per cent of the actual sale price – and encourages buyers to share opinions on available properties they've viewed.

The app’s core functionality is its learning algorithm that grows more accurate as more people use it. The algorithm has been developed over three years by computer scientists at RMIT University.

By providing sale price predictions and a buyer forum, the 'community-owned' app is expected to reduce buyer stress, as well as save buyers' time and money by helping to prevent underquoting.

Cofounded by Australia’s first buyers’ advocate, David Morrell, realAs is backed by a board of respected Melbourne identities from across real estate, law, sport, digital and marketing, including Morrell, Andrew Newbold, Jeremy Press and Josh Rowe – all of whom wanted an end to the manipulation of homebuyers.

“It’s a very smart algorithm that listens to buyers,” says Mr Morrell. “realAs will turn the real estate industry on its head. It’s about giving buyers faster, more accurate property prices and predictions, providing transparency, buyer to buyer.”

According to realAs, the app has proven to be more accurate than other online prediction tools on offer in Australia and internationally.

“realAs is by buyers, for buyers to research and make the right property purchase decisions,” adds realAs CEO Josh Rowe. “For investors, realAs provides a critical data point regarding accurate sale price predictions.”

The realAs team believes the industry will be largely supportive of realAs as it brings a new level of honesty and transparency.

Early trials have shown an average 64 per cent of predictions are within 5 per cent of the sale price and 89 per cent within 10 per cent.

The company plans to fund realAS by hosting advertisements from banks and other businesses associated with housing.

The site will have listings from all the main portals: News Corp-owned www.realestate.com.au, Fairfax’s www.domain.com.au and the industry-owned realestateview.com.au.