OPINION: Let’s be clear — realtors play a vital role in Ontario’s housing market

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Ontario’s real estate market is an essential part of the province’s economy, creating jobs and giving families a way to build wealth and financial security. For these reasons, those covering the market must use good data sources and consult with experts to give consumers the best information. 

A recent piece in the Toronto Star unfortunately used incorrect data sources and inaccurate statistics to describe the state of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario real estate industry.


Ontario’s “exodus of 45,000 real estate agents and brokers” erroneously inflated


The article used Statistics Canada data to share that Ontario experienced an “exodus of 45,000 real estate agents and brokers” between February 2022 and December 2023 — representing a decline of over 24 per cent. Yet, this data erroneously inflates the numbers by including appraisers, property managers and rental housing professionals. The Star has since updated the article to clarify this point. 


Just 5,000 fewer licensed agents between 2022 and November 2023: RECO


The real change for realtors is much less dramatic than what was initially reported. The Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) reports only a modest decline of 4.5 per cent from 110,000 licensed agents in 2022 to 105,000 as of November 2023.

The article also suggests that the 65,000 residential home sales in 2023 represent all the property transactions that 73,000 GTA realtors supported last year.  The truth is realtors support every segment of the Ontario real estate market — not just sellers.


2023 TRREB member realtor activity more than three times what was referenced 


Our members work with home buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants. Thousands of realtors also work in the commercial market, across office, retail and industrial spaces, in leasing, sales and property development. Realtors supported sale and lease transactions for over 200,000 property transactions through the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) MLS system in 2023. 

In addition, TRREB members were also involved in transactions reported through MLS systems operated by other boards and associations in Ontario. Finally, many realtors are also involved in non-MLS system transactions, including the pre-construction sale of new homes.

All told, TRREB member realtor activity in 2023 was more than three times what was referenced in the article — a fact that speaks volumes about the breadth and depth of their involvement in the market.


Continuing to advocate for elevating industry standards


Despite these missteps, the Toronto Star article rightly acknowledges the progress to elevate standards in real estate services through the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA) in Ontario. TRREB continues to lead the way in advocating for these changes and through the phase three regulation process we are continuing that important work. The collaboration between TRREB, policymakers, Minister Todd McCarthy and Premier Doug Ford is a testament to our shared commitment to bolstering the integrity and professionalism of our industry.

The path to well-informed real estate consumers is paved with accurate data and the right information. As stakeholders in Ontario’s real estate market, TRREB takes its responsibility to ensure consumers have accurate information very seriously and understand the vital role realtors play in Ontario’s housing market.


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