Saskatoon Mortgage Broker shares article – Real estate market to become more competitive

Federal ruling forcing release of recent sold data will help improve the industry

By Romana King – May 2, 2016 – Money Sense

It might get easier for homebuyers and sellers in the Greater Toronto Area to accurately compare recently sold data and current homes for sale after a ruling last week from the Competition Tribunal.

The Commissioner of Competition, the federal agency tasked with advocating for the rights of Canadian consumers, won their abuse of dominance case against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) after fighting for years to have sales data made accessible to the public.

At the heart of the Competition Bureau’s argument is that TREB, the real estate board that represents real estate agents and brokerages that work in the GTA, stifles industry competition by restricting who gets full, easy access to housing market data. In an effort to increase competition within the real estate market, the Competition Bureau argued for open, easy access to housing data—data that lives on the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), a suite of services that enables a seller to market their property to multiple buyers in the open market.

During the legal fight, TREB has continued to argue that by allowing the public unrestricted access to housing market data, they would violate the privacy of clients—sellers who list their home for sale and buyers who enter into a contractual agreement to purchase a property.

It’s not entirely clear how last week’s ruling will impact the industry as the tribunal had not released details on how to remedy TREB’s anti-competitive conduct. Instead, the tribunal confirmed that a new round of hearings would be held to decide what changes were required to help TREB comply with competition laws. Phil Norris, senior communications advisor with the Commissioner of Competition did confirm that the details of how market data would be made accessible to the public will be “released in the near future.”

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