TREB must release real estate data today

The Toronto Real Estate Board as of today must release sold prices and other real estate data to its members and allow them to make it public.

TREB lost its long legal battle to prevent its members from making that information public on Aug. 23, when the Supreme Court turned down its request to appeal a ruling that it must release the data.

The case began when the Competition Bureau sued TREB in 2011, arguing it engaged in anti-competitive practices.

A 2016 ruling from the Competition Tribunal, a quasi-judicial body, found that withholding the data was an anti-competitive practice and ordered TREB to release home sale prices and other information. But TREB fought that ruling through the courts.  

Matthew Boswell, interim commissioner at the Competition Bureau, said in a statement Monday that the bureau will be “closely watching to ensure that the letter and spirit” of a 2016 ruling from the Competition Tribunal is upheld.

The order will give buyers and sellers in Canada’s largest real estate market “access to a greater range of innovative service options, delivered through greater competition among TREB’s members,” the statement said.

But how exactly the process will unfold is not clear.

As recently as last week TREB sent cease-and-desist orders to members who were posting prices and home sale history on password-protected websites, threatening to revoke their membership unless they stopped making the information available.

John Pasalis of Realosophy got a cease-and-desist order from TREB when he posted information online.

He says he expects TREB to send a feed of information on Tuesday that will release not just sold prices, but sale dates, historical sales data and information about homes that have been listed and then taken off the market.

Agents currently have access to a feed that carries prices for homes sold, but not the other data.

Websites such as Realosophy, Zoocase and HouseSigma want to make this information available on a password-protected website, arguing it helps educate consumers about the huge financial purchase of a home.

However, Pasalis says TREB has sent no information to its member agents telling them what they can expect or clarifying the details that will be available.

TREB did not respond to a request for comment.



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