Online real estate shopping stifled over information sharing
Canada's Competition Bureau is going to appeal a ruling that says the Toronto Real Estate Board isn't unfairly holding back data that could let online real estate sites compete.
The bureau argues that TREB isn't sharing specific details on house sales, keeping the crucial data for real estate agents to share themselves with clients.
In theory, TREB is holding on to the data so web and app-based real estate services can't really compete with real estate agents, and their commissions won't get eroded, the Competition Bureau says.
But TREB, meanwhile, says it's holding onto the data to live up to privacy laws and keep the buyers and sellers' personal information protected, according to a report in the Globe.
Back in April, the Competition Tribunal reportedly dismissed the case. If the decision went the other way, sites like Zoocasa and RedPin could offer people in the housing market valuable information on the properties they're interested – beyond the asking price and photos of the homes.
"It is our view that TREB's anti-competitive behaviour continues to restrict potential homebuyers and sellers from taking advantage of a greater range of service and pricing options when making one of the most significant financial transactions of their lives,” said the competition bureau's John Pecman in a statement.
Until TREB – Canada's largest real estate board – opens up the data floodgates to competition, most people must go through a real estate agent to get valuable data about homes and condos they're interested in. And this means they have to pay more to get data that should be otherwise widely and freely available, some believe.
Should the Toronto Real Estate Board make more data available to boost competition?
- Maurice Cacho, MSN Tech & Gadgets