The Competition Bureau took the next step yesterday by filing an application with the Competition Tribunal to decide whether or not CREA’s (Canadian Real Estate Association) rules are anti-competitive.
The Commissioner of Competition, Melanie Aitken, believes that consumers should be able to select the specific services they want from a Realtor(R), which (she says) should include lower cost options. One option she feels would be beneficial is that consumers should be able to pay a flat fee to just have their home listed on the MLS (the first place buyers go to start their search in Canada) instead of also having a predetermined set of additional services tacked on and forcing the price higher (where current commissions are).
In 2007 there was a similar change in the US where a ruling by the Department of Justice opened up the MLS data and in doing so created a place for innovative web-based real estate services and drove real estate fees down.
The president of CREA, Dale Ripplinger said, “We do not agree with the Bureau’s position that certain CREA rules are anti-competitive, either as a matter of fact or as a matter of law. CREA’s rules allow for innovative business models and provide a broad range of choice for consumers.”
If these changes are enforced, the cost of buying and selling a home could drop dramatically. Real Estate Agents could potentially become salary jobs, real estate shops will open that offer more of an al-carte type menu, etc.
What do you think?