“There are at least two main reasons homes are so important to people. One is that they are often seen as an extension of our identity, and represent who we are.” – June Cotte, Associate Professor, Richard Ivey School of Business
MARKHAM – With July 1 just around the corner, we Canadians are already dreaming of fireworks, barbeques and a relaxing holiday off work with friends and family. It’s a special tradition we’ve enjoyed since Canada achieved independence in 1867.
With more than 700 agents and 33 years of experience buying and selling GTA properties, Living Realty is one of the biggest real estate brands operating in Greater Toronto. That’s a legacy we are proud of, so in honour of the upcoming national holiday we thought it might be fun to take a look back at the history of real estate in Canada.
The Early Years: Canadian Real Estate in the 19th Century
Home ownership has been a key aspect of Canadian culture since the years prior to Confederation, when many Canadians were required to own real estate property if they wanted to vote in elections.
While real estate agents were active in Canada in the years around Confederation, it wasn’t until 1888 that the nation’s first real estate board formed in Vancouver, operating as simply the Vancouver Real Estate Board. While this original board dissolved after three months, it reappeared in 1919 as the Vancouver Real Estate Exchange Ltd.
World War 2’s Impact on the Canadian Housing Market
The first nationwide network of real estate professionals was convened in 1943 as the “Canadian Association of Real Estate Boards” (CAREB) – the first incarnation of the organization simply known today as the Canadian Real Estate Board. The real estate industry leaders who were involved with CAREB wanted to assist the Canadian government in transitioning from temporary wartime policies, to a postwar framework that would encourage community growth and home ownership in Canada.
In 1946, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation was established with the goal of ensuring that returning WW2 veterans would be able to afford homes for themselves. Through innovative offerings like Mortgage Loan Insurance, the CMHC made it easier for all Canadians to participate in the real estate market and own their own homes.
Real Estate Technology: A Canadian Legacy
The “Photo Co-op System,” implemented in 1951 by CAREB, was an early front-runner to what is today known as the Multiple Listings Service or MLS – a digital system used by almost every real estate sales representative and broker in the GTA.
Following thorough promotion of the Photo Co-op System in 1955, Canadian real estate brokerages realized they had more to gain through working together in order to connect buyers with the right homes and commercial properties. From the late 1950s to the present, more and more real estate boards were formed across Canada – today, there are roughly 100 Canadian real estate boards and associations working in cooperation with CREA.
TREB: A Canadian Success Story
With nearly a century of history dating back to the 1920s, the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) was one of the first North American real estate groups to experiment with cooperative listings services – making their first attempt to launch one in 1924. They were also a key group involved in the development of an electronic MLS several decades later.
Formed by a committed group of real estate professionals, with a shared vision of ethics and cooperation, TREB has been respected and emulated by many other North American real estate groups since its inception.
Canadian Real Estate Today
Canada in the 21st century is much more multicultural than it was in the days when organizations like TREB and CREA first took root. Residents from other countries and diverse cultural background are establishing themselves in neighbourhoods across the GTA, and our team of agents often find themselves working in multicultural communities that also boast great homes.
In Canadian cities like Toronto and Mississauga, there’s also a greater selection of new homes than ever before – whether they are first-time buyers or looking to upgrade; whether they are searching for townhouses, executive luxury homes or condominium towers soaring high above the Lake Ontario shoreline.
With local housing markets constantly changing and growing, real estate has never been more important to Canadians – and we’re proud to recognize our heritage while continuing to evolve to meet a changing real estate market.