TREB: Toronto realtors see a stronger fall market
TORONTO - The Federal Court of Appeal is set to decide today whether Canada's largest real estate board must open up access to home sales data to its realtor members, which it could then share with the public online.
The decision to uphold or set aside a previous decision by the Competition Tribunal is expected to have widespread ramifications and affect how other real estate boards provide services to customers on the Internet.
Last April, the Competition Tribunal ruled that the Toronto Real Estate Board prevented competition and stifled digital innovation by prohibiting its realtor members from posting sales data on their websites.
The Commissioner of Competition argued that TREB's rules restricted the ability of realtors to introduce innovative real estate brokerage services online, denying consumers the benefits of greater competition, such as lower prices.
The tribunal also said TREB must provide data such as sales figures, pending sales and broker commissions, which it does not currently disclose.
TREB later appealed the decision and argued that publishing sensitive data such as the price a home is sold for would violate consumers' privacy.
"By denying agents the ability to introduce new and innovative real estate brokerage services using the internet, consumers are ultimately denied the benefits of greater competition," the Competition Bureau said in a statement. "More competition generally means lower prices, better product quality, greater consumer choice and innovation, all of which benefit not only individual Canadians but the economy as a whole."