Investigation suggests Toronto home construction price-fixing conspiracy

Matthew Coutts
National Affairs Reporter
Daily Brew

Real estate is expensive in Toronto, there's just no getting around it. If you want a home in Canada’s biggest city, you have to be prepared to pay dearly for it. That is the cost of doing business.

But an investigation into Toronto’s construction industry suggests the existence of a conspiratorial cabal that has been cashing in on the city’s profitable housing market

CBC News reports that Canada's Competition Bureau has been investigating the city's construction industry. It reportedly uncovered a long-standing industry conspiracy to inflate the cost of home foundations.

An exclusive report by CBC News suggests up to 10 concrete companies have agreed to fixed prices and not compete with one another, while also stifling smaller competitors out of the market.

As CBC writes:

With more than 330,000 new houses built in the Greater Toronto Area since 1997, the alleged price-fixing could have added hundreds of millions of dollars to the total tab for home construction — or several thousand dollars per house.

None of the allegations being investigated by the Competition Bureau have been tested in court. Still, it is bound to rile customers in Toronto's competitive real estate market.

The news comes just weeks after a new report announced a 16 per cent price increase in new single-family homes in the Greater Toronto Area.

And according to the Canadian Real Estate Association, Toronto had Canada's second-highest average home price last month at $478,739.

It was behind only Vancouver's $683,875 average price.

You've gotta think there are some British Columbia home buyers asking themselves a few questions right now.