Competition and Real Estate

The Importance of Competition in Real Estate to Consumers

 Thinkstock/Getty Images)Buying or selling a home is the largest financial transaction most Americans will ever undertake. The median priced home cost $184,334* in 2009, and the median commission paid to real estate brokers came to $9,733**. Overall, Americans paid nearly $60 billion for brokerage services.


* Inflation-Adjusted Median Home Sale Price based on data for the first half of 2009
**Inflation-adjusted median commission based on data from the first half of 2009.

More Competition Could Reduce Commissions

 Thinkstock/Getty Images)New business models are emerging that allow consumers to save thousands of dollars when they buy or sell a home. Where these practices are allowed, some buyers’ brokers are offering refunds on commissions, and some sellers’ brokers are charging only for services actually used.


Other Problems Consumers Face

 Thinkstock/Getty Images)Some states require real estate closings to be done by lawyers, reducing competition and raising costs. Competition also suffers when brokers exclude low-cost rivals from the multiple listing service (MLS), which limits price competition.


Additional Resources

Government hearings and reports on competition in the brokerage industry

Competition in real estate: Questions and answers

Department of Justice enforcement actions to protect competition

How to Contact the Antitrust Division

If you have questions or comments about competition in the real estate industry or if you have information concerning anticompetitive conduct, e-mail the Antitrust Division.

Updated October 14, 2020

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