Agent: TREB ruling good for industry, buyers

by Justin da Rosa02 May 2016
Many agents may not agree, but one industry veteran argues the recent sold data ruling will help improve the industry.

“The ruling is certainly good for the industry and good for everybody,” Fraser Beach, broker of record with Select Plan Real Estate,” told REP. “This is a step in the right direction and I think it will lead to more options for homebuyers.”

The Competition Tribunal ruled in favour of the Commissioner of Competition in its abuse of dominance case against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) Thursday. It remains unclear what impact this will have for homebuyers and, indeed, agents, as the Tribunal has not yet detailed how it will remedy TREB's anti-competitive conduct.

Those details, however, are expected to be released in the near future.

“Those details are confidential at this time,” Phil Norris, senior communications advisor with the Commissioner of Competition, told REP. “It will be (released) in the near future.”

The ruling could force TREB to make its sold data public or punish it for refusing to do so.

And while many agents fear public info will erode their competitive advantage, Beach argues they should adapt to the change.

“(Many are against it) because they are still in the old mind-set of being gatekeepers and people being required to use an agent to get real estate information.”


  • by Ian Hocking, Broker 5/2/2016 11:12:31 AM

    Well it's certainly an interesting development. The Real Estate and Business Brokers ACT (I.E. The act that governs all real estate activities in Ontario) presently forbids agents to display sold data information or even identify a sold house on their websites without permission. (Yes all those agents who have a page on their website displaying a picture of how many homes they have sold and any details about that home are breaking the law) The obtaining of that permission to advertise is required to be sought from either the Buyer and Seller or the Buyer of the property depending on who owns it. Contrary to popular belief it is not OK to write that permission into the offer, it needs to be documented in a separately written agreement as there should be nothing in an offer that benefits the agent directly and depending on who owns the property it requires a different permission.

    Sold data is publically available , just go down to the registry office, pay $8 and go look it up if you need it so badly. Agents pay through their fees to CREA for access to government information, I.E. they can look it up online. And yes, agents do publish the sold data to each other via their own 'agent to agent' system.

    The devil will be in the detail, but the public should be aware that the price they are paying for or selling their homes is about to become very public. I'm not sure that's in the best interest of everyone, especially the Buyer or the Seller to whom we owe a fiduciary duty, including confidentiality. This is as much a privacy issue as it is the quest to 'display all'. I doubt it will ultimately affect agents very much as we all know the information and the public can easily find out by either going down to the registry office or calling over their friendly real estate agent , "For free" and having them do an evaluation on their home. During that evaluation, not only will they be given the sold data but they'll also have it 'interpreted' for them. Having the information and interpreting it are quite different things.

    Ultimately there seems to be some thought process that displaying the price that homes are sold at is going to change the way business is done. Since the data is already readily available I suspect this isn't going to help change very much at all, except the privacy of Canadians is being violated again. Does this all start to sound a little like our friends from the south where that information is readily available on the internet. I live in Canada because of things like the privacy rules, and as a Canadian I object to having the value of my assets published for all and sundry to look at.

    So viva the competition bureau, thanks for allowing the Real Estate industry to publish my personal information on the internet. Oh and , for RECO, better sharpen the pens and re-write the ACT so we don't all breach REBBA by publishing sold data.

  • by Gord Ja 5/2/2016 11:27:24 AM

    Well said. I think TREB should vigorously challenge releasing of sold data on basis of privacy. As a private individual, I certainly don't want the sold price of my house splattered all over the Internet.

  • by bb 5/2/2016 11:34:36 AM

    finally a good response, this must come up in communication between the Fed's and CREA & TREB.........there is something else going on here...........somebody has the Feds wound up in order to carry on their own real estate business cheap and cherry pick from our years of building a system. The complainants seem to be using Fed tax dollars (my $) to shake out what they want without working for it. The sold data is available but u have to go to the Land Titles and search...........woops now there is a fee.

    AS for TREB info something more glaring to me while preparing a CMA is the lack of square feet in a home. It is just a range published in the MLS, not exact or estimate ( -).


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