The comparison to estate agents in the UK is especially interesting. They make half the commission and close 3 to 4x transactions.
The article mentions NAR by name and only refers to MLS in passing as ex-cartels:
The business used to operate like a series of local cartels. In a typical area, a handful of brokers controlled a shared database of available homes, and limited their cheaper rivals’ access to those listings. In 2008 in the United States and 2010 in Canada, regulators struck deals with realtors to open up these databases. Yet since then the average commission has actually risen, from 5.0% in 2005 to 5.4% in 2011, according to REAL Trends, a research firm.
“Used to”, huh?
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