I would say that a substantial increase in properties without a listed price is an indicator of an overheating market.
I do that extensively too but
- there is no technical reason why that must work i.e. a property with no published price might sort (or filter) differently from your expectation e.g. never come up at all when you use a specific min and max price or e.g. come up at a somewhat or completely bogus price
- this raises an interesting question regarding the underquoting laws - is displaying the property as if it is listed at a certain price a form of quoting?
Also in NSW: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/about-fair-trading/legislation-and-publications/changes-to-legislation/underquoting-reforms
Perhaps if Choice wants to get involved at all, it should be to advocate that (state) government institute a review to see, some years down the track, whether the underquoting laws have had the desired result and/or whether those laws have had any unintended consequences.
There are multiple factors at play here.
There are the genuine eye-waterers where “if you have to ask the price then you can’t afford it”. Many of those are PoA. At the extreme end of the market it is even Expressions of Interest (EoI). Let’s put those properties to one side and consider only more mainstream properties.
Agents (sellers of anything) love to force you to make contact. That affords the agent a selling opportunity. It gives the agent market information. It gives the agent something to report to the vendor (e.g. level of interest) that can’t be judged as reliably by web site analytics.
Transparency is a tricky thing. Let’s forget about agents for a moment. Let’s say that I am the seller and you are the buyer. We are therefore directly in a negotiation over price. The government could pass a law that requires me, the seller, to tell you, the buyer, the lowest price that I will accept. However that would in my opinion unreasonably benefit the buyer over the seller. There is of course no highest price that I will accept.
The transparency that I would like to see is that all sales information must mandatorily be made public at no cost (rather than that the state government tries to monetise it i.e. make a buck by flogging the information to the highest bidder who then flogs the public’s information back to the public).
Then it is up to you, as buyer, to judge from recent comparable sales what you think a property is worth, the same as the seller’s agent will typically do.