Inside Canada’s changing online listing landscape in 2019

Inside Canada’s changing online listing landscape in 2019

Justo Team | February 6, 2019

The online home listing landscape in Canada has been undergoing dramatic changes since the country’s highest court decided not to hear the Toronto Real Estate Board’s appeal to keep home sales data under lock and key.

Given TREB is Canada’s largest real estate board, there were obvious national implications, and it wasn’t long before realtors on the west coast were posting previous property sale prices — for a long time a no-no — online.

Of course, even before the Supreme Court struck down TREB’s appeal, US real estate giant Zillow was mulling entry into the Great White North’s property market, something it has since done.

Zillow waded into the northern market this past October by adding Canadian listings, and the company, which even buys homes itself to upgrade and sell, says its listings website draws more than 500,000 Canadian home shoppers each month online.

The innovation doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Late last year, Justo launched in the Greater Toronto Area with plans for broader expansion in the future.

The full-service real estate website harnesses technology to provide consumers with a wide array of services, including custom marketing plans for each property and 3D virtual tours.

“It’s like there’s a 24-hour open house online that customers can access,” Vicki Schmidt, co-founder and the company’s broker of record, tells Livabl.

Already, the fledgling business has plans to build upon its suite of services, which also benefit from partnerships with industry professionals including home inspectors, real estate lawyers, and photographers.

“Very soon we’ll have a home estimate algorithm where people can actually see right on the spot the value of their property,” explains Schmidt.

Not long after Justo’s 2018 soft launch, Redfin — a major player stateside — announced its intentions to go live with a Canada-wide search site and brokerage services for Toronto and Vancouver, specifically, within the first months of this year.

“Our website and mobile apps will show all the homes for sale via the local Multiple Listing Services used by brokerages. And Redfin will show sale prices for Toronto and Vancouver homes that for years had been unavailable to consumers,” Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman says in a news release.

Demand for search tools of the kind Redfin will launch is apparent in Canada, Ara Mamourian Leslieville partner, tells Livabl.

“Redfin will come here with more of a tech presence, like Zillow, so I think consumers are hungry for that kind of experience when it comes to searching for homes,” he notes.

While Mamourian expects that competition from newer online-savvy companies will drive real estate commissions down, he suggests there will still be a need for the traditional realtor.

“They’re taking advantage of a lot of these search tools and ultimately they’re ending up in the hands of a professional local realtor who can guide them through the process a little bit more effectively,” Mamourian adds.

In 2015, it looked like Zoocasa, a full-service real estate brokerage and online search portal, was finished, as the Rogers-owned property was shut down.

But in July 2015, the company returned under new ownership, and by the end of last year, web traffic had tripled compared to 2017 and app downloads surged 150 percent.

“The line between real estate and technology is blurring — from our perspective, in addition to prop-tech innovations, data-driven home searches will become even more popular with buyers and sellers,” says Zoocasa CEO Lauren Haw in an email.

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By Justo Team

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