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StreetSine, SISV reach understanding on automated valuation models; court action ends

STREETSINE and the Singapore Institute of Surveyors and Valuers (SISV) have reached an understanding on the use of automated valuation models (AVMs) following mediation, which has resulted in StreetSine discontinuing proceedings that had been previously brought against SISV.

In a joint statement issued on Tuesday morning, StreetSine and SISV said: "Pursuant to a court-initiated mediation process, SISV and StreetSine have come to a better understanding to promote the use of technology, such as SRX X-Value, as a tool for pricing residential property in Singapore."

They added: "In the spirit of this understanding, StreetSine has discontinued the proceedings it commenced against the defendants... on a drop hands basis."

StreetSine commenced proceedings against SISV in 2016 after a statement by the professional body of surveyors and valuers in April that year stated that it does not recognise computer-generated valuations as they are not in line with SISV valuation standards and practice guidelines.

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StreetSine operates online platform SRX Property, which publishes property listings, market intelligence and offers data analytic tools, such as X-Value. X-Value is an automated valuation service which instantly generates an indicative value of a home. SRX is operated by StreetSine Technology Group, a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH). SPH also owns publications such as The Business Times.

At the time, StreetSine claimed that SISV had allegedly hurt its business and reputation, causing StreetSine to suffer loss and damage. It also alleged that SISV had breached Section 47 of the Competition Act, which prohibits any conduct that results in the abuse of a dominant position in any market segment.

StreetSine later in 2017 filed a new writ of summons with 27 defendants, including council members of SISV’s valuation and general practice (VGP) division, certain individual members of the institute, as well as SISV’s disciplinary committee members and staff.

As council members of the VGP and institute members, property consultancies JLL, Knight Frank, Edmund Tie & Company (now Edmund Tie), CBRE and Teho Property Consultants were also named among the defendants.

The joint statement issued on Tuesday highlighted that SISV recognises that AVMs could facilitate pricing transparency for the public, while improving the efficiency and productivity of property professionals. AVMs - which have become widely used by property buyers, sellers and real estate professionals - can "(help) buyers and sellers work towards agreeing on the price of a home".

The joint statement also said: "For transactions or any other dealings where a formal valuation is required, StreetSine recognises that the opinion of a licensed appraiser based on verification, validation and analysis remains an important part of the property valuation process. For property professionals and financial institutions, SISV strongly recommends embracing technologies, such as AVMs, as important tools in performing valuation and transacting property."