The second phase of Ontario’s effort to straighten out its real estate market is well underway. Things got started with the implementation of the provincial Fair Housing Plan last spring.
The launch included a 15% foreign buyer tax, rent controls and a re-examination of the rules governing realtors. The Ontario Real Estate Association is now asking its members for input on recommendations it can make to the province about further changes.
A possible recommendation that is being put to OREA members would make the bidding process in home buying more transparent. That is, all of the bidders – as well as the seller – would be able to see all of the bids. Currently realtors are only allowed to share that information with the seller.
According to OREA this blind-bidding process can lead to “suspicion and mistrust.” In its white paper the association notes that losing bidders often feel they could have made higher offers if they “had known what they were up against.” Conversely, winning bidders can be left with the feeling they have paid too much. The OREA proposal would require all bidders and the seller to agree to the open process, something the association admits is unlikely. OREA is not taking an official position on the proposal.
OREA is also proposing a bigger role for the provincial regulator, the Real Estate Council of Ontario, in disciplinary matters.
OREA will be collecting feedback until March and hopes to send its report to the Ontario government in September.