A Supreme Court of Canada decision is being hailed as a huge victory for consumers today as GTA realtors finally win the right to make home sales data public online.
Long story short: Anyone will soon be able to see how much any property has been sold for in the past — without hiring a realtor and jumping through hoops to get basic information.
Canada’s Competition Bureau has been fighting for this to happen since 2011, when it challenged a Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) policy preventing the publication of home sales data.
Today, @SCC_eng decided it will not hear an appeal by #TREB, marking a big ? for #competition, #innovation and #consumers in the GTA real estate market ? Read our statement ? : https://t.co/GQVwQYWCx1 pic.twitter.com/SctDEuJ16s
— Competition Bureau (@CompBureau) August 23, 2018
At the time, TREB only allowed its roughly 50,000 members to share the history of a property’s sale price with clients via fax, email or by presenting it in person.
Brokerage websites were prohibited from publishing the information, regardless of whether or not it was password protected.
The competition bureau has argued that, by hoarding such information, TREB was impeding both competition and innovation in Toronto’s real estate market.
TREB has countered repeatedly by saying that posting the data would violate the privacy of its clients and break copyright law.
— Extra Guac (@ExtraGuac4Me) August 23, 2018
The duelling organizations went back and forth for years, first at the Competition Tribunal and then at the Federal Court of Appeal, where TREB was told to release the home sales data publicly.
The real estate board subsequently asked the Supreme Court of Canada to hear an appeal.
On Thursday morning, the Surpreme Court basically said “nah.”
Canada’s highest court announced around 9:45 a.m. that it would not hear an appeal from TREB, which means that the lower court rulings stand: Toronto realtors can now publish home sales data on their websites, and Toronto residents can get a better look at what they’re investing in.
Lead photo by Laurin Jeffrey