Sold prices may become public

** Sold prices may become public**
Currently the Canadian Competition Bureau is in a lawsuit against the Toronto Real Estate Board in an effort to allow the public access to data that previously only agents had access to - in particular sold data.
There is an argument that this data belongs to the public, and having it available will increase competition and benefit the consumer.
Imagine if you could go to a website and automatically see every sold price in the neighbourhood before even setting up a showing.
If this happens, we may see a situation similar to what has happened in the United States, where sold data is public, and the MLS is only the 5th most popular real estate website.
Other technology based companies have stepped in offering a better solution.
This is one more step in opening up competition in the real estate industry and making the 5% commission model obsolete.

That would kill most home appraisers. Seems to be a free service anyway.

Actually Roy, I think this is an invasion of privacy. As the sold data is associated with a property, and in almost 95% of the cases the prior owners information can be obtained, then by simple data mining, the price someone actually received for a property can be ascertained.

I personally do not want what I buy and sell properties for to be public knowledge and more than I want the public to know what I sell stuff in a yard sale for. It’s none of the “publics’” business.

The people that needs to know (CRA e.g.) know, and that should be the limit of it. I personally think that any information regarding a sales process once it has been completed should be removed from any system that has it.

This should not be accessible by Realtors, Brokers or the public. That way Realtors would have to earn their living by adjudicating what a house is actually worth rather than vase it on what it sold for the last time.

Statistical analysis should not be a carte-blanche to hold peta-bytes of personal and personally identifiable data. The MLS, InterRealty and other “profession” based data collection services are all services that should have time sensitive releases on the data held.

The problem is that information = power, and power = profit. And while government strategy is more driven by profit centered organisations, rather than altruistic care of the voter, we are never going to see the end of this “big-data” mentality.

Heck, the government can’t even come up with sensible penalties for the release of personal information that cause serious damage to individuals.

If you were to help someone steal a persons wallet you could be sentenced to a minimum of 5 years for theft, but if you release personal information that allows someone to steal their entire net worth, you get a slap on the wrist and told to tighten up your systems security!

But I digress. Sorry for the rant. :smiley:

It’s not free, but it’s not expensive!

I usually try to not express my opinion on news articles I find .
I just post the info I get.
Often very interesting to see the feed back .and some times a great discussion follows .

Sorry Roy, I didn’t realise you published the Article, I actually thought it was your opinion.

That said, the opinion in your OP is a widely held one, but I feel that days of businesses defaulting to data tracking and recording ought to be numbered and replaced by Identity privacy and required approval to release information.

My earlier response leads to my feelings on why this should be the case.

It is a topic of hot discussion in the UN Internet Security Group, and an area I believe much more discussion will need to be had before governments make the right decision, or a catastrophic failure in the data collection system creates havoc on a global scale.

I think that’s an interesting take and one that hasn’t been really considered by either side–the government is looking to make the information free to open competition and TREB wants it secret to give their members an advantage.

Simply saying NO ONE is privvy to that info would upset both parties at the same time–in other words a good compromise. It would also help slow the trend of “everyone knowing everything about everyone”

Except that home sales are not garage sales, property values are used to determine property taxes, agent commissions, etc. etc. so like it or not the information is out there, and the question becomes, who should have access? The way things are now it is public, if you want to know what a house sold for, just ask a friendly real estate agent, and you will have your answer as quick as it takes them to log in to their database.

If the information should be private as Len suggests, no one, especially agents, should have access to sold prices except tax collectors, (same as income tax returns…).

Which would make life quite interesting for buyers and sellers I suspect.

Home sales prices and property taxes are public records where I live.

Situation is interesting as I look up to Canada from the lower 48.
If property is titled and recorded. Is there not a tax for recording the property?
Is there a tax stamp or recording fee noted on the recorded title?
If the a recorded title and amount of tax paid to record it then you can back calculate what was paid for the property.
Are recorded title public information? Then the amount that tax was paid on is also public information is it not?
So why would it not follow that the sale price, as reported for tax purposes, be public information?

I think it is everywhere in the USA. Previously sold prices and dates are listed on every home on Zillow and Trulia.

Yes sir.:smiley:

It would certainly make life interesting, not just for buyers and sellers, but also Realtors. No longer would they be able to use “statistics” and “market trends” to value a property based upon it’s last sold price. Instead they’d have to analyse what the true market value of the properties were worth (or what they were prepared to invest to sell them at)

This might just provide some brakes that could help take the bubble & bust cycle out of the housing market. By making each sale dependent upon the ability of the Seller to hang-on, or the Realtor to accurately price a house regardless of the surrounding market a number of benefits can be gained.

Housing bubbles are caused by a number of factors, the more risky areas that add fuel to the bubbles are generally seen as:

  1. Potential mis-pricing of risk by mortgage lenders and mortgage bond investors that expands the availability of credit to borrowers.
  2. Lack of financial literacy and excessive risk-taking by mortgage borrowers
  3. Speculative and risky behavior by home buyers and property investors fueled by unrealistic and unsustainable home price appreciation estimates.
  4. High-yield structured mortgage bonds that make more mortgage credit available to borrowers
  5. “Innovative” mortgage products with low initial monthly payments that make homes more affordable.
  6. Easy access to credit, generally derived from a lowering of underwriting standards, that brings more buyers to market.

While hiding post-sales figures will unlikely ever help with the latter two, it would certainly introduce more uncertainty and therefore more caution into the market, which would address 1 through 3, and by consequence 4.

The people that would suffer are the investors. (i.e. Big Banks, Big Business) and once again we are back to why things won’t change.

While I recognise this is a different reason for “locking up” the data from peering eyes that just privacy reasons, it makes a good argument on its own merits. That makes, IMO, two good arguments for not releasing the information to anyone other than the revenue, Realtors included.

And just because it’s already out there in parts of the world (USA) doesn’t necessarily make it right. Remember the upper tiers of the U.S. economy (or what’s left of it) is very much based upon investment, so having this financial data in the open actually assists in keeping the debt wheel turning. ($18bn and counting as of this post)

Coupla things that may or may not be different, Most of Canada as far as I know has Provincial freedom of information and privacy legislation (FOIP). Each province will have its own, so what is OK in Ontario may not be in Quebec, and so on. FOIP legislation in Alberta regulates Government, ie Alberta and municipalities in Alberta. There is separate but similar legislation for business. Interpretation of the FOIP act is left up to the various Provincial departments and municipalities, and it is not consistent, so, Edmonton may release information as public while next door Sherwood Park, will say the same info is private. Edmonton will tell you if a building permit has been issued, Sherwood Park will not unless you are the owner of the property, citing FOIP.

As far as I know all of Alberta and most of Canada use property values to assess property taxes, but in Edmonton it is not based on an actual assessment, but a formula average based on the location, square footage, improvements like sidewalks and alleys, etc. etc… An assessment used for taxes is not used (should not be used) to determine a sale price, assessments are usually lower than what a home will sell for. Individual sale prices are not used to calculate tax assessment, averaged prices are used and adjustments are made across the board (good news bad news for 2015, we didn’t raise your tax rate this year, we just increased the assessment haha). Homeowners are free to challenge their assigned assessment, and anyone can look up the tax assessment of any residential property on the city’s web site. The only thing it useful for is to estimate your property taxes, or maybe to challenge your home’s assessment. It is in the homeowner’s interest to keep the tax assesment value as low as possible, as it means lower taxes. Without researching it, I would bet that every town and city in Canada handles this slightly differently, so it would be impossible to generalize about other provinces or even municipalities.

I believe that this information is public at least here in Quebec.

I don’t know how to navigate the site but it is at link below:

Same here, recent sales are published in a local newspaper on Sunday.

It is against the law for any govt. employee to state the sales price of a home in New Mexico (USnA) $10,000 fine for each specific instance. I believe there is one or two other small states that are non disclosure, but the other 47-48 are public.

I don’t believe that the data aggregators are a ‘better’ service. From a Realtors perspective, they are liable for the accuracy of MLS data, with consequent penalties for mistakes. Zillow is absolutely zero responsible for the data it publishes, which it takes/borrows/steals from the people who go and actually work to collate it. Zillow is often outdated, wrong, and often has scammers, some from Africa trying to rent out a home somewhere in the US.

That said, Zillow has a superior website usability. Even with it’s drawbacks, it’s great in published states, mostly useless here. It is definitely lowering REA commissions, making the REA for experienced buyers/sellers sometimes irrelevant.

Realtors do have a monopoly on that info here in NM, and we’re probably too small potatoes to go after, for now anyways.

I imagine the Mega banks up there are behind the push for “opening” or making public the records. It is in their financial interest to do so. Back in 04 06? there was a big push by the Mega banks here to make it legal for them to sell properties and make even more money, they were close to winning despite NAR efforts, and then the crash hit. I consider it an extension of monopoly, not in peoples best interests. As bad as a REA may potentially be, a large ultra national bank handling your RE transaction is infinitely worse.

A large title company just bought up a home inspection group, thread somewhere here on INACH.

Dealing with a REA for home inspecting is one thing, it is a person you can talk to at least. A home inspector Potentially dealing with a Mega Bank selling a home … well… would you even want to go there?

Please excuse the ‘American’ response, but we are all americans from canada to argentina :slight_smile:

Thanks John always interesting to see what others are doing .

All the best… Roy

You’re welcome Roy

Here in bc we can access the online bc assessment government website and it will list the price a home sold for if it sold in the last few years, it won’t be updated very frequently but it does share some sold for prices, also a home assessment can be maybe a few hundred dollars, but you can get that money back by using it in conjuction with a market evaluation or 2 and sending them to your assessment office to have your tax assessment lowered and then paying lower taxes! It might help you sell your home faster with lower property tax assigned to your home as well. I have seen this exact situation just recently where the homeowner had his property tax assessment reduced by just over $50,000. That could save you quite a bit of money over the years, but as stated above be detrimental to local government when things are put out in the publics eye, next thing you know all your neighbours are doing the exact same thing.