Thursday, July 12, 2007

“Days on the market” stats removed from Southern California listings

The Southern California Multiple Listing Service has announced a decision to remove the number of days a home stays on the market from listings. Real Estate agents will still have access to the data, but it will not be publicly available. Good for agents, not so good for buyers who might be able to get a better deal if they know the seller is desperate to offload a property. Brokers get a percentage of the home price as fees, so they will have an incentive to make buyers pay more.

On the other hand, this decision may help end “re-listing” schemes, where brokers remove a home from the market for a while and then list it again, thus distorting the stats. Re-listing practices are not prohibited by law, but they certainly do not benefit buyers. However, this doesn’t sound like a very good justification to me – after all, everyone is aware of the “slump” in the housing market, I don’t really believe re-listing is that much of a problem. Attracting any buyers at all is hard enough, let alone getting a higher price. Hiding the “days on the market” number will help mask the slowdown in home sales and generally benefits realtors, but it will not help improve the market. Hm…

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