A recent Supreme Court decision could have an enormous impact on the GTA housing market. This ruling will make sales data public, thus removing a lot of the secrecy that shrouds transactions for both sellers and buyers.
This brings to end a longstanding 7-year battle brought forth by the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) and will bring clarity to bidding wars and should lead to more informed purchases.
It’s hard to find any fault in giving people more information, so instead of pros and cons, let’s look at how things can change.
Transparency for Asking Prices
The GTA housing market has always been built on asking prices that had no meaning whatsoever. Since sales data has always been kept private, it was hard to know if an asking price was in line with the sales history of the neighbourhood or similar properties. It’s not uncommon for real estate agents to underprice a listing to drive some offers in the hope of a bidding war.
Making sales data public could make asking prices more reasonable, and not trap potential buyers into a bidding war that will see a home sell for hundreds of thousands above asking.
Real Estate Agent Reform
This is a big one. We’re not suggesting that real estate agents are deceptive but their job is to make money or find a home for their clients. They have several tools in their toolbox and one is the fact that they hold the keys to sales data. Buyers and sellers are in a position where they must trust what they’re being told.
People making the biggest purchase of their life or hoping to sell an asset to comfortably retire should have the information to empower them to make the right decisions.
People will be able to see the entire sales history of a property. This will allow them to accurately price their home or know when they are getting a deal as opposed to being lulled into a bidding war. They will be able to see how a house appreciated or depreciated and work with their real estate agent in a more forthcoming manner.
This ripple effect of this Supreme Court ruling will be interesting to monitor. It feels like a monumental shift for the GTA housing market, and one that could lead to more stability and potentially more affordable housing.