Seeing double: What REALTORS® need to know about duplicate listings

Last year, allegations briefly made the news about how organized real estate portrays the Canadian housing market as being stronger than it is in reality. Part of the evidence used to support these allegations included the fact that a property can be posted to more than one MLS® System, meaning, the listings must be double-counted, resulting in inflated sales activity and prices.

Let’s look at why this isn’t the case.

The practice of posting listings to more than one MLS® System typically can be seen in areas where transactions commonly occur between buyers and sellers across the jurisdictional boundaries of local real estate Boards and Associations. This should come as little surprise, since Multiple Listing Service® Systems are first and foremost marketing tools to help REALTORS® serve their clients.

And, while we found that duplicate listings occurred most often in southern Ontario, overall, it’s hardly wide spread. Our recent analysis showed duplicate listings accounted for less than 0.8 per cent of all the active listings on REALTOR.ca.

Digging even deeper, we scrutinized the location of duplicate listings in southern Ontario, allocated them to a home Board and converted them to sales. We found that hypothetical double counting of sales amounted to less than one per cent of the Ontario total, and less than 0.4 per cent of national sales activity.

From a statistical standpoint; insignificant.

When we use our hypothetical allocation of estimated sales attributable to duplicate listings, we found the average sales price slipped by 0.3 per cent for Ontario home sales and by approximately 0.1 per cent for home sales nationally.

From a statistical standpoint; insignificant.

Duplicate listings also have an inconsequential impact on statistics for market balance, as measured by the sales to active listings ratio. After accounting for them, the sales to active listings ratio for Ontario rises by approximately 0.3 per cent and the national sales to active listings ratio slips by less than 0.1 per cent.

From a statistical standpoint – you guessed it – insignificant.

That said, there are practices in place to ensure that duplicate listings are not counted, and that sales are reported within the jurisdictional boundary of the local real estate Board or Association in which the property is located. Not only is this important for consistency, ultimately, it helps prevent us all from seeing double.

As CREA’s former Chief Economist, Gregory Klump provided his views on the state of and outlook for Canadian housing markets to news media, policy makers, and real estate industry stakeholders. In 2017, Gregory celebrated his 25th anniversary as a member of the team at CREA. He’s an avid skier and snowboarder during the winter and a year-round Crossfit enthusiast.


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