BUSINESS

Toronto Realtors Now Listing Sales Price Data Online, After Court Ruling

It's not personal — it's just data, companies say.

12/06/2017 14:58 EST | Updated 12/07/2017 12:51 EST
Mark Blinch / Reuters
A real estate sign that reads "For Sale" and "Sold Above Asking" stands in front of housing in a Toronto suburb on May 24, 2017.

Toronto realtors have begun to make the prices homes are sold for available online, after the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that keeping the data private is anti-competitive.

Although the Toronto Real Estate Board has vowed to appeal the decision, some companies have already moved full steam ahead by starting to publish the data online.

MongoHouse, HouseSigma, and Sold.Watch have launched websites detailing prices homes are sold for, or are integrating sold prices into their listings.

House Sigma
The House Sigma homepage features the recent selling price of some properties.

MongoHouse, which previously displayed sold data for the past 30 days, expanded after Friday's court ruling to show one year of data on an interactive map, and up to five years of data using its searchable tool.

The founder of MongoHouse told The Globe and Mail on Monday that the website has been operating anonymously for two years because of legal threats from the TREB.

He said he and the site's managers have similar data ready for Vancouver and Calgary. If the federal court decision is upheld, it would allow MongoHouse to operate more openly and expand using money from investors.

He said MongoHouse has been waiting for this decision for "a long, long time."

We're not doing anything differently other than continuing to do what's right.Ara Mamourian, The Spring Team

"It is something that will move the market going forward [to be] more transparent," he said.

Broker Ara Mamourian of The Spring Team, which describes itself as "radically transparent" on its website, wrote a blog post hailing the changes.

He disagreed with TREB CEO John DiMichele's argument that sharing sold price data amounted to disclosing "personal" financial information of customers.

"People don't make their own financial decisions based on what mortgage rate you got, or the "deal" your car dealer gave you or the friends and family discount you got at your local clothing store BUT they certainly do make their own financial decisions based on what you paid for a property," he wrote.

Rene Johnston via Getty Images

The company has already been sharing sold prices via email with customers, according to the blog post. Mamourian told CBC News it's just good business to give them the data.

"We're not doing anything differently other than continuing to do what's right. What's right you ask? Sharing sold data with clients who need it," he told CBC News.

He said the Spring Team isn't actively publishing sold data, but that their parent company, Property.ca, will likely do so once there's "more clarity" around the new rules.

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Others are taking a more cautious approach.

Lauren Haw, CEO of Zoocasa, a large provider of real estate market information, told the Globe she'd be "waiting for marching orders" before publishing the data, which the company could do "in the next 60 seconds."

Haw told the Globe Zoocasa is an "active and participatory" member of the TREB and didn't want to jeopardize that relationship.

At real estate agency Realosophy, John Pasalis said he's holding off on putting sale prices online, though he welcomed the ruling, according to CBC News.

With files from The Canadian Press

Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Ara Mamourian is a broker with Spring Realty. He is a member of The Spring Team.

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