You might have seen it as you scanned the news. It probably seemed interesting, but you also might have wondered what the hubbub was about.
In August, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear an appeal from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB). The Board was appealing a decision by the Federal Appeals Court to uphold a ruling by the Competition Bureau that allows realtors to publish the final selling price of a home.
The Supreme Court’s refusal means that, in addition to seeing asking prices for homes, you can now also see the final selling price. Previously, only the asking prices were made public.
In addition to home sale prices, the Court’s decision also means that information regarding house history and property market trends in a neighbourhood is now more accessible.
TREB represents realtors across Toronto and the GTA. It’s policies and the Court’s decision affect home buyers and sellers in Markham, Unionville, Richmond Hill and all across York Region.
Why Did TREB Not Want Final Sale Prices Published?
TREB fought the Competition Bureau’s decision for seven years. The Bureau handed down the decision in 2011 after finding that TREB’s policy against publishing the data “impedes competition and digital innovation”.
For their part, TREB consistently maintained the position that publishing the information violates consumer privacy and that they want to protect home sales data.
It’s worth knowing that final home sale prices have been publicly available in U.S. real estate markets for over 10 years.
What Does the Court Decision Mean for Home Buyers?
While you’ll find differing opinions, it is generally accepted that the ruling helps home buyers make more informed decisions.
First, they can see the final selling prices of homes on which they placed an offer. This can give the buyer insight into making more successful bids on another home in the same area.
Second, the information on property market trends within a neighbourhood can identify opportunities in areas that a buyer might not have considered previously.
What Does the Court Decision Mean for Home Sellers?
So far, there has been no public outcry about the invasion of privacy that TREB feared. While no one has done a formal study, the lack of concern could be because most home sellers are home buyers too. They have to move somewhere. And so they too will reap the same benefits that home buyers get.
If the U.S. experience is at all like ours, then there’s been no major privacy concerns raised there around the publication of home sale data.
What Does the Court Decision Mean for You
If you’ve been thinking about buying or selling a home in Markham, the more information the better. And knowing actual sale price data is powerful. But knowing how to actually use the information to your best advantage isn’t as easy as it might seem.
To learn more about how to make sense of all the information at your disposal, and to get the best deal, contact The Tar Team today.