Real estate brokerage - competition?

Residential real estate brokerage fees amounted to about $61 billion in 2004. Because commission rates appear to remain uniform regardless of market conditions, economists have questioned the extent of price competition in the industry. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) today issued a report on the brokerage industry, discussing (1) factors affecting price competition, (2) the role of the Internet, and (3) brokerage services by state-chartered banks. GAO found one cause of price uniformity may be multiple listing services (MLS) which, while facilitating cooperation among brokers that can benefit consumers, can also discourage competitive commission rates. The effects of the Internet and banks were found not to be significant.

REAL ESTATE BROKERAGE: Factors That May Affect Price Competition
      Full Report (PDF, 244KB, 32p.)
      Highlights (PDF, 40KB, 1p.)
      Abstract (HTML)
      All from GAO

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