“Ontarians, especially first-time buyers, are rightly concerned about rising home prices and a shortage of both new listings and new homes. Ontario’s 80,000 REALTORS® share these concerns and want to help create the next generation of Ontario homeowners.
Unfortunately, for too many, the current real estate market is a frustrating game of musical chairs, with more and more people circling a fewer amount of chairs.
The experience can be discouraging: a hopeful buyer competing with dozens of bidders for homes they can barely afford, and repeatedly losing out. They’ve lost sleep wondering whether their own bid is uncompetitive or more than they really need to pay. It’s not surprising some may wonder whether there’s a different way.
There are those who are arguing for the mandatory use of an auction process as a way to reverse rising home prices. The auction could be in person, online or involve all the buyers putting the contents of their offers on the table for all other buyers to see. However, in jurisdictions where auctions are common, prices have actually risen as “auction fever” leads to higher bids.
Ontario Realtors believe that Ontarians deserve a choice when it comes to something so important as their home. A home is our most valuable and precious asset, the place of our fondest memories and where we feel safe. For many, their home is their nest egg for retirement. Potential buyers may not want to share some of their most personal, private information such as a need to sell their own home to finance the purchase of another or how much they can afford for a down payment with a collection of strangers around the table. Government should not force them to do so.
We believe that buyers and sellers should be able to choose if they want to use the traditional offer process or an auction. In fact, we successfully lobbied the Ontario Government to allow for such choice – provided all parties consent – as part of the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA). The Government will be consulting on the corresponding regulatory change needed to ensure this option becomes a reality.
The current landscape of bidding wars in Ontario’s housing market is emblematic of a much larger issue: there is simply not enough supply to meet demand, leading to multiple offer situations and higher home prices.
Fixing Canada’s housing affordability crisis starts with meaningful action to boost housing supply. More homes and more affordable choices will help frustrated buyers finally get the keys to a new home. Innovative and prudent financing options will help first time buyers with the initial down payment. The provincial regulator should be given greater authority to suspend or revoke licenses of Realtors who abuse the rules or take advantage of hardworking Canadian families.
All levels of government need to work together and make it easier for first-time buyers to own a home, through increasing housing supply, eliminating unnecessary government red tape, addressing affordability and giving both buyers and sellers a choice in how they engage in the offer process.”
- Tim Hudak, OREA CEO