Last week, for the first time in Canada, the general public could see exactly what any home sold for through the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), but that information is not permitted to be published by real estate agents in B.C.
The release of sale price data in Toronto follows a Supreme Court decision August 21 in favour of a Competition Tribunal order that allowed publication of home sales price information. The decision forced TREB, which has been fighting against the ruling for seven years, to allow agents to make the information publicly available.
A number of Toronto real estate companies and listing services immediately put the data online through password-protected sites. All the user has to do is register and provide a password to access the information.
In a scroll through one listing service’s web page, it appears that most Greater Toronto homes are being sold for close to their listing price, which may not be the case in much of Metro Vancouver, where home sales have plunged about 32 per cent so far this year compared with 2017.
John Barbisan, president of the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, said his board cooperates with the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver and the Chilliwack Real Estate Board to provide Multiple Listing Service data in B.C.’s Lower Mainland.
He said officials at all three boards have discussed the Competition Tribunal order, but could not say if or when sale price information would be accessible on agents’ websites in the region.
“It has only been three days [since the Supreme Court decision],” he said, adding that the boards will be meeting on the issue. “There has been no public pressure here to release home sale prices.”
Barbisan said a key issue is striking a balance between the public’s right to know and right of an individual to privacy.
In May this year, Glacier Media’s property portal REW.ca began listing sale prices and other information about homes in the Lower Mainland and southern Vancouver Island via its Property Insights pages. The free, non-registration service allows users to plug in an address to find the home’s most recent transaction history, including prices and dates (on completed sales of the property), as well as similar nearby listings and the median price of those listings, the home’s BC Assessment value and other data.
With files from Joannah Connolly