Inventory Shortages Spur MLS Execs to Figure out Share of ‘Pocket Listings’ in their Market

We’ve all know that pocket listings are happening in high demand markets but did you know that in some areas that percentage is as high as 26%? A study by Silicon Valley-based MLSListings Inc. suggests that pocket listings constitute a significant and growing chunk of home sales. That study found that pocket listings made up 26 percent of home sales in five Northern California counties in the first quarter of 2013, up from 15 percent in 2012.
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So how many home sales are taking place outside of the multiple listing service in your market? Clareity Consulting’s Matt Cohen says MLS executives around the country are showing an interest in getting to the bottom of that question, and he’s written a blog post explaining how to do just that.

Pocket listings are not new, but recent inventory shortages in many markets could be creating conditions — lots of buyers competing for scarce listings — that are ripe for real estate brokers and agents to close deals outside of the MLS.

A wider, but still limited, study of four large U.S. counties from CoreLogic earlier this month suggested that MLSs played little or no role in nearly half of home sales in 2013, offering more insight into a topic that has generated plenty of rhetoric, but not a lot of hard data, in the industry.

The limited scope of these studies has prompted criticism from some, who say real estate is local, and the trend cannot be generalized to the nation as a whole. Cohen says MLSs “around the country are beginning to consider replicating the original MLSListings study in their market.”

“Understanding the scope of the practice and the harm that may be caused to consumers is necessary if an MLS is to discuss the trend with membership at the local market level,” Cohen wrote. “Such studies may also inform further discussions at the national level.”

Are you witnessing more pocket listings in your area recently? We’d like to hear from you!

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