A court ruling just revolutionized Canadian real estate
It may seem odd to those of us who regularly browse for properties online in the U.S., but our neighbors to the north in Canada haven’t had the ability to see what price a home previously sold for online—at least, not until now.
Late last week, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal from the Toronto Board of Realtors (TREB), the real estate trade organization in Canada’s biggest city, over its argument to keep historical home sales data and pending sales information restricted to only dues-paying members of its organization
The ruling ends a years-long fight concerning buyer, seller, and sales data being made publicly available for the city’s consumers on virtual office websites, consumer-facing listing websites operated by real estate brokerages, like Redfin’s website in the United States, for example.
Immediately after the ruling, though, Canadian home search websites Zoocasa and HouseSigma started publishing historical home sales data — what a home previous sold for during older sales transactions.
“TREB believes personal financial information of home buyers and sellers must continue to be safely used and disclosed in a manner that respects privacy interests and will be studying the required next steps to ensure such information will be protected in compliance with the Tribunal Order once that comes into effect,” said John DiMichele, CEO of the Toronto Real Estate Board.
In 2011, Competition Bureau Canada challenged TREB’s policy that prevented the publication of historical home data on virtual office websites – like prices, history and property market – from Stratus, TREB’s own multiple listing service operated by a third party where much of the data is held.
Home sold data in the United States is commonplace. It’s easy to see what homes in the neighborhood sold for, just by browsing third-party listing sites like Zillow. One big difference is this ruling in Toronto will force other information, including granular pending sales data – how much a deal is worth, before the official closing – as well as seller’s financial information to be publicly available.