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Quebec Real Estate Industry at the Crossroads


Strange things appear to be happening in Quebec. The Montreal estate board and the Granby real estate board no longer wish to be part of CREA, the Canadian Real Estate Association.


CREA has been involved with the Competition Bureau and eventually concluded an agreement which essentially permitted sellers to list their properties on the MLS system for a set fee. The listing does not really offer payment of a commission to a co-operating broker.


CREA agreed and most commentators would describe this “agreement” as simply complete capitulation on the part of CREA.


Be that as it may, Montreal is not happy, Granby is not happy nor are many Quebec based Realtors. The provincial association also plans to leave CREA on 31 December 2012.


Technically, I might add that Granby has already voted to leave. Montreal is hosting a referendum in September. CREA’s all or nothing provincial participation rules will force The Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards (QFREB) to leave CREA when Granby departs. Other individual boards may opt to affiliate with CREA.


No one seems to be talking about this, at least publically. The official websites are all silent on this issue, as are the spokesmen.


The CREA fees are increasing. CREA needs money to fight the Competition Bureau. But, rather than fight, they folded.


The internal integrity of the MLS is lost. So, what will happen? Outwardly, the new provincial Board complains about fees, but actually it will now secure proper control of its own “mls” system. While they will have to name it something else, that won’t take long and the public will soon find out.

QFREB now operates Centris which is an “mls-like” system which in the opinion of many is substantially superior to the MLS site owned and operated by CREA.


Can the other provinces be far behind?


It was frequently suggested that the big real estate brands in Ontario “go it alone”, and drop their listings from the MLS database.

Let the FSBO’s sit alone, together on their own website, and leave the “mls” system alone! That is the unsung mantra in Quebec. 


Will Ontario follow suit?


Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker is an author and commentator on real estate matters.