Move over real estate agents, Toronto homebuyers can now see what homes in their neighbourhood actually sold for.
Real estate websites have begun publishing the final sale prices of Toronto homes, less than a week after a ruling by the Federal Court of Appeals on Dec. 1.
Sites like MongoHouse and HouseSigma, which are offering final sale prices behind a login wall, show that homes in Toronto are generally selling for about the same price that they were listed at.
Homes in Toronto are notoriously expensive, which has made practices like bidding wars a fixture in the city’s real estate landscape. Releasing home sales data can help empower homebuyers, who often rely on real estate agents to see what homes in an area have actually sold for.
Demand for this information is high. Joseph Zeng, co-founder and CEO of HouseSigma, told the CBC on Wednesday. He said that the website saw 10,000 hits in half a day on Tuesday. At MongoHouse, a spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous told the CBC that the site has seen 42,000 hits since Saturday.
Many real estate sites and brokerages cheered the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision on Dec. 1, which upheld an 2016 ruling that required the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) to allow its agents to make home sales data available to the public.
The fight for access to this data stretches back to 2011, when Canada’s Competition Bureau sued TREB for its monopoly over the data. The bureau stated that this monopoly gave TREB an unfair advantage in the real estate market.
Many believe that access to this data will facilitate competition and innovation.
But TREB has been resistant, citing its concern for consumer privacy as the reason for withholding information from the public.