Federal Court of Appeal upholds decision in favour of real estate innovation

News Release

Toronto Real Estate Board must stop restricting its members’ use of real estate data

December 1, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau

The Commissioner of Competition welcomes the Federal Court of Appeal’s ruling today in favour of competition and innovation in the Bureau’s abuse of dominance case against the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).

The decision upholds an order issued by the Competition Tribunal in 2016 that requires TREB to remove restrictions on its members’ access to real estate data – including historical listings and sale prices – for display online through virtual office websites.

This will allow home buyers and sellers to take advantage of a greater range of service options when making one of the most significant financial transactions of their lives. Opening up access to real estate data will allow member agents to offer consumers the convenience of data-driven insights into home sales prices and trends via the web, and to improve the efficiency and quality of their services.

The 2016 order followed the Tribunal’s earlier ruling in favour of the Commissioner of Competition when it concluded that TREB ‎has abused its dominant position in the Toronto residential real estate services market.


Quotes

“Today’s decision is an important win for competition and for consumers – it paves the way for much needed innovation in the real estate industry. Anti-competitive activity that hinders innovation in the Canadian economy will continue to be a top priority for the Bureau.”

John Pecman,
Commissioner of Competition

Quick Facts

  • Toronto is one of Canada’s most expensive and least affordable housing markets. The average selling price of a home in Toronto has gone up from $485,520 to $780,104 since the Bureau commenced its litigation against TREB in May 2011. The average sale price of a detached home sold through the TREB MLS is now more than a million dollars.

  • The Bureau’s case against TREB has been ongoing since 2011, when the Commissioner filed an application with the Competition Tribunal challenging the restrictions that TREB imposes on its members’ use and display of data in the Toronto Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system.

  • Greater competition generally means lower prices, better product quality, increased consumer choice and innovation, all of which benefit not only individual Canadians but the economy as a whole.

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