Announcements 30/08/18 |

On August 23, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada ended a 7 year battle between the Toronto Real Estate Board and the Competition Bureau over the public use of “sold” price information. The country’s largest real estate board can no longer limit how brokers use the data in its multiple-listing service.
The case began in Sept. 2012, when the bureau brought an action to the Competition Tribunal alleging that the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) was harming innovation by restricting Virtual Office Websites (VOW’s) from accessing large chunks of the data in the multiple listing service (MLS) data feed, including historical-sales-price data.
A Virtual Office Website is “a password-protected area of a brokerage’s website where consumers can access and search a database containing MLS information.”
The dismissal by the court caused the 2016 Competition Tribunal order that demanded the data’s release to come into effect and has allowed TREB 60 days to allow for its publication. However, because TREB appealed the order at least two times since it was released, there is debate over when the order and the 60 days of preparation time began.
Many real estate brokers are now playing catch up with online startups who have been developing tools to display sold data on their website for years. A number of these tools already exist in the Maritimes and the United States, where sharing sold data is common practice.
Although the ruling only effects the Toronto Real Estate Board, it will be felt nationally. It will only be a matter of time before other real estate boards begin to report sold data.
WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN?
As the general public continues to look online for information, consumers will benefit from more access to everything from price trends to listing histories and even the sales volumes and track records of agents. Giving them more control over the process while further educating them along the way.
Real estate agents have always had the ability to present sold data to sellers. Since the public now has access to sold data, the agent can no longer rely on this tool when speaking to potential sellers. The true value of an agent lies in those who can interpret the data and communicate in a way where they could guide people in terms of pricing, strategizing and positioning the sale of their home. The playing field has been levelled a little bit with the public getting access to sold data. Agents will be more competitive and that isn’t always a bad thing.

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