Industry NewsTechnology

New online tools allow agents to play in home-price futures

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A new online tool developed by Homethinking allows real estate professionals and other users to conjure up their best bet on year-end home prices using market expertise, divining rods, crystal balls or other forecasting aids. At stake is their online cred: Those users who guess best will receive higher ranking in the online trading community, and real estate professionals can promote their predictive prowess to prospective clients. The Homethinking Prediction Markets tools are available for the 100 most populated counties in the U.S., and allow users to buy and sell shares using play money to predict year-end home prices on a countywide basis. A similar online prediction market is the Hollywood Stock Exchange, which allows users to buy and sell shares of actors and movies using play money that they receive when they sign up at the site. "The stock market is the world's largest prediction market," said Niki Scevak, CEO of Homethinking, which also offers an online directory featuring con...