By Tony Palermo
The Toronto Real Estate Board is appealing the Competition Tribunals recent decision which found, in part, that TREB has engaged in anti-competitive acts.
In an email statement to REM, TREB confirmed that they have filed a Notice of Appeal and are reviewing the Competition Tribunal’s recent order with their legal counsel, but are saying little else, stating that “the matter is still before the courts.”
TREB did not respond to any other questions, including who is representing them for the appeal. But a copy of the appeal, which was filed with the Federal Court of Appeal in Toronto on May 27, lists the solicitors for the appellant (TREB) as Jeff Rosekat and Jacqueline Horvat with Toronto’s Sparks LLP and William Sasso of Sutts Strosberg LLP in Windsor, Ont. TREB was represented at the tribunal hearing by Toronto lawyers Don Affleck, David Vaillancourt and Fiona Campbell from Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP.
The 14-page appeal document cites approximately 40 Grounds of Appeal, more than 30 of which allege the Competition Tribunal erred in its determinations.
Competition Bureau spokesperson Taylor Bildstein says TREB is still required to fulfill its obligations within the 60 days prescribed in the tribunal’s order, unless TREB obtains an order from the Federal Court of Appeal within that timeframe temporarily staying the order.
At press time, it remained unclear if TREB will be seeking a temporary stay of the order. Attorney Jeff Rosekat referred all questions back to TREB, which is not commenting beyond the original media statement.
In the meantime, some are celebrating the order as a win.
“The Competition Bureau’s decision is a big win for consumers and for competition in the real estate brokerage industry,” says John Pasalis, president of Toronto-based Realosophy Realty, which operates a virtual office website (VOW). “While I can appreciate opening up MLS data to consumers may be a bit unsettling for some TREB members, the reality is U.S. real estate brokerages have been displaying the sold prices of homes online for more than a decade. TREB’s policies were behind the times.”
Pasalis says the tribunal ruling will allow his company to develop new public tools that will enable consumers to do some of their own research.
He says Realosophy will also be able to mine the data to find underlying trends in the market, in particular neighbourhoods or condo buildings, which are not obvious by just looking at sale prices.
“Sold data is now a commodity,” says Pasalis. “The real value for our clients is in the hidden insights we can extract from this data.”
Rokham Fard, co-owner of the Toronto-based TheRedPin brokerage, agrees, adding that consumers are looking for more useful information in a quicker fashion – something that technology can deliver. The problem, he says, is that the real estate industry remains one of the few sectors that have lagged in embracing the power of technology. In fact, it was this recognition that led to the creation of TheRedPin in 2010 which, according to the company’s website, was seen as an opportunity to reinvent the way people bought and sold properties.
“Consumers are looking for this real-time and near-real-time type of experience,” says Fard. “Companies like Uber, which can have a car at your door in three minutes or where you can have your favourite pizza delivered at the click of a button – these types of companies have really set the consumer’s expectations.”
Fard says having access to important current and historical real estate data allows for the innovation of all kinds of technology tools that can provide the consumer with real time insights and detailed examinations for their research – especially when it comes to predicting trends.
As an example, Fard says to consider markets where bidding wars are common. Predictive technology tools can analyze all of the relevant data, including sold prices, and predict to the consumer how much a property is expected to sell for.
Predictive technology tools can also help the consumer get the house that they really want.
“Maybe someone really wants to buy a house in the Yonge and Eglinton area of Toronto,” says Fard. “They might see one come up for sale and jump on it, even if it’s not the perfect house for them, because of that fear of missing out. So, they pull the trigger. But predictive analysis tools can help that consumer be more patient and give them the opportunity to plan ahead by forecasting what homes might come up for sale in a given area, and when.”
As he says, it’s about providing the consumer, whether they are buying or selling, with an enhanced experience by giving them relevant information that is based on real data, not opinion, and is delivered to them almost instantaneously.
“It’s all about providing the detailed, real-time experience that the real estate consumer wants and expects,” says Fard.
Check remonline.com for the latest updates.