Oct 20, 2010

The Canadian Real Estate Association just voted in favor of a deal reached with the federal Competition Bureau to open up the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) by allowing brokerages to charge consumers a minimal fee to post home listings on the website without having to use any agent services.

Many see this ratified deal as story over for the Competition Bureau vs. CREA soap opera but this may not be the case. According to the Globe and Mail a new fight threatens to break out over the way CREA handles the data generated by each sale on its MLS.

Industry sources say that the Competition Bureau is now examining whether the data agents generate and keep in the password-protected section of the MLS should be made available to anyone listing with a flat-fee brokerage.

Prior MLS sales data is valuable because it helps individuals selling their home determine what their property is worth. The info includes things such as prior sale prices, comparable sale numbers and days-on-market data.

Without making this data more freely available, sellers purchasing flat fee listings are still reliant on agents. The new changes to the MLS by CREA enable some additional options for purchasers and brokerages but by no means do they alleviate the stranglehold on real estate data.

Battle aint over.

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