REALTORS® serving Calgary and area

Facts over fiction: home sales data

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September 18, 2018

Most will already know about the legal dispute between Canada’s Competition Bureau and the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), which centred on sales data and the degree to which it should be private. Click here to access CREB®'s infographic on this subject.

In a ruling back in December 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal upheld a previous decision in favour of the Competition Bureau in its case against TREB.

On Aug. 23, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the TREB appeal application regarding Virtual Office Websites (VOWs) and the kind of data they can access from the TREB database.

What does this mean for consumers?

The Federal Court of Appeal’s December 2017 decision is now final. This means that VOWs can access the previously “Disputed Data,” which includes:

  • Previous sold prices
  • Pending sold prices (where no conditions remain other than closing)
  • Withdrawn/expired/suspended/terminated status
  • Cooperating commission

We’re pushing facts over fiction

Despite reports to the contrary, this decision does not mean it’s a data free-for-all.

Locally here in Alberta, sales history cannot be advertised without consent.

In fact, REALTORS® in our province are bound by the Real Estate Act, the Real Estate Council of Alberta’s (RECA) legislative interpretations that are outlined in its guidelines.

As of right now, the only type of website that can share sales history is a Virtual Office Website (VOW).

VOWs are not public: they are password protected and they certainly are not

What is a VOW? What is not a VOW?
  • Password protected, brokerage website
  • It is NOT an advertising vehicle
  • VOW consumers have established a broker-consumer relationship
  • It is NOT like other internet delivery mechanisms which advertise listings
  • Consumers register to search a real estate Board’s MLS® System listings   
  • It is NOT the feeds or agreements that allow your listing to be marketed on other websites
  • Subject to brokerage’s oversight, supervision and accountability


Quick links to key info:

Federal Court of Appeal Decisions

CREB® infographic about VOWs

The Real Estate Act of Alberta

Guides and industry tools