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The Housing Market and Real Estate Brokers


  • Suryamani Mantrala
  • Edward Zabel


The major development in this paper concerns the failure, in earlier studies, to consider interaction between alternative methods of arranging sales in the housing market. A seller may market a house by direct negotiations with buyers, without the intermediation of real estate brokers, or by listing the house with a broker. A rational seller would choose the option which offers the higher expected return on the house. In a sequence of models we argue that the seller's option of a method of sale induces competitive pressure in the choice of the commission rate by the broker. We also consider the split rate in a multiple listing system, ease of entry of brokers and the cartel hypothesis as applied to brokers. We conclude that the competitive pressure of direct negotiations between sellers and buyers, relative free entry of brokers and the inappropri-ateness of the cartel hypothesis cast serious doubt about a general consensus of opinion that the brokerage system is characterized by price fixing, excessive commissions and excessive marketing costs. Copyright American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association.

Suggested Citation

  • Suryamani Mantrala & Edward Zabel, 1995. "The Housing Market and Real Estate Brokers," Real Estate Economics, American Real Estate and Urban Economics Association, vol. 23(2), pages 161-185.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reesec:v:23:y:1995:i:2:p:161-185

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    Cited by:

    1. Larceneux, Fabrice & Lefebvre, Thomas & Simon, Arnaud, 2015. "What added value do estate agents offer compared to FSBO transactions? Explanation from a perceived advantages model," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 72-82.
    2. Carolin Fritzsche & Lars Vandrei, 2018. "Causes of Vacancies in the Housing Market – A Literature Review," ifo Working Paper Series 258, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    3. Kimberly Goodwin & Ken Johnson & Leonard Zumpano, 2012. "Minimum Service Requirements, Limited Brokers and Menuing of Services," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 45(2), pages 471-490, August.
    4. Jonathan Wiley & Justin Benefield & Marcus Allen, 2014. "Cyclical Determinants of Brokerage Commission Rates," The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, Springer, vol. 48(1), pages 196-219, January.

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