The Supreme Court of Canada ruled late last week against hearing the Toronto Real Estate Board’s appeal to keep sold data access closed, and that could make things easier for mortgage brokers.
“Sometimes consumers are misinformed about what the true value of their property is, and this will allow us to have access to real data and advise clients what equity they may have if they are trying to make a decision to sell their property and buy a new home, or refinance their existing home,” said Frances Hinojosa, a managing partner at Tribe Financial.
While brokers have access to Purview, which falls under the Teranet umbrella, sold data will buttress the information brokers already use to advise clients.
“It will help us and allow us to have transparency, which is always a good thing,” continued Hinojosa, who added she isn’t the least bit surprised about the Supreme Court’s ruling.
“I think consumers right now crave real transparency, and this creates transparency in the housing market.”
Litigation began seven years ago, when the Competition Bureau sued the Toronto Real Estate Board for anti-competitive practices, positing that Canada’s largest real estate board was hoarding data that could support newer business models. The real estate board, for its part, maintained that it was protecting consumers’ privacy.
However, Sarita Samaroo, principal lawyer at SST Law Professional Corporation, believes TREB, in fact, took a protectionist position.
“I’m quite surprised that TREB has been against the decision as it stood,” said Samaroo. “I thought it was quite strange, given who they represent, and that there should be as much real estate data as possible. I understand the protectionism, because they want to ensure the public hires realtors to access that information, but I don’t see how it can harm realtors for the public to have more information on hand. I thought it strange that TREB has been against this from the beginning.”
Samaroo added that she expects a proliferation of new business models in the real estate industry.
“It’s interesting that the Competition Bureau had to get involved in order to have this available to consumers, but again I have to agree with the Competition Bureau’s stance that TREB had anti-competitive restrictions,” said Samaroo. “I think TREB was insulating its members previously, and I think now it will open up more room. There will be more companies able to share that data with the public so we’ll probably see an evolution.”