Ontarians don’t want the government to mandate how they sell their homes, thank you very much.
Housing is the star of the show in the lead up to next week’s provincial election. It’s clear that something -- anything -- has to give on the housing front in response to the red-hot housing prices we’ve seen in Ontario over the past two years. And voters are looking for a provincial government that will aptly address the housing crisis and bring affordability within reach.
But in doing so, Ontarians don’t want the government to mandate how they sell their home, according to new research from the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA).
Some passionate voices have been calling for a ban on the multiple offer process, or “blind bidding,” with the intent of turning the process into an open offer auction process. A recent survey conducted by Abacus Data on behalf of OREA, however, shows that only a small minority of Ontarians (18%) think it is a good idea to force homeowners to sell their home to the highest bidder via an auction.
The majority of Ontarians (60%) believe homeowners have a right to sell their home by whichever method they feel is best. Six in 10 also say a homeowner should be given choice when it comes to how and to whom they sell, according to OREA.
Ontarians are less likely to think it is a good idea to allow potential buyers to know what offers have been made on a home before they bid (50%). Homeowner and non-homeowner respondents don't differ in their support for this idea. Notably, PC voters in the last election are less likely to think this is a good idea compared with Liberal and NDP voters, highlights OREA.
“You cannot solve the housing affordability crisis by denying millions of hardworking families the choice of how to sell their home by banning the traditional offer process or blind bidding,” said OREA CEO Tim Hudak. “A home is a family’s greatest asset, so they should have the option to sell their home however they wish and not be forced to put it up for auction.”
Ontarians are divided on how well the current home buying and selling process is working, reports OREA. The Government of Ontario sought to address the issue earlier this year by introducing new rules under the Trust in Real Estate Services Act (TRESA). Once in effect, the changes will bring more transparency to the home buying and selling process, allowing buyers to view information about competing offers being made on a home, provided all parties consent, says OREA.
“Ontario REALTORS® called on the Province to introduce these common sense reforms instead of implementing blanket bans on the traditional offer process,” said Hudak. “It strikes the right balance between adding more transparency to the offer process while protecting a homeowner’s right to sell their home how they want.”
OREA is loud and clear in its own set of suggestions. “Instead of mandating auctions that would just add more red tape and further restrict the number of homes on the market and likely drive up prices, OREA is calling on all political parties running in the 2022 Ontario election to prioritize housing policies that will ensure future generations have a shot at owning a home,” they state in a press release.
These solutions include increasing housing supply, particularly affordable starter homes, and doubling the land transfer tax rebate for first-time home buyers.