An international comparison reveals that in countries where only the seller pays the agent, the brokerage fee is significantly lower than in Germany. In the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Sweden the agent’s commission is often only 2 per cent of the purchase price compared to the usual 6 per cent in Germany. The main reason for this is that, having the opportunity to obtain a number of quotes, the seller has more bargaining power than the buyer. In addition, it is unlikely that the commission will be completely passed on to the buyer via the selling price. One reason for this is that, besides wanting to obtain the best price, brokers also aim to sell their properties as quickly as possible. A second reason is that buyers have alternatives to fall back on, such as renting their home rather than buying it. An empirical analysis of the pricing behaviour of brokers in Cologne suggests that their sales strategy varies according to the market situation. In summary, the ‘principal pays’ principle would achieve the politically desired effect of lowering the financial burden for the buyer. However, examples from other markets show that brokers will continue to play a significant role. Indeed, the proportion of real estate sold by brokers is expected to rise. In addition, the task of advising buyers may gain in importance.
International Practice and Economic Effects The ‘Principal Pays’ Principle in Real Estate Brokerage
The political debate on how to ease the tight housing markets in Germany has seen a proposal to introduce the ‘principal pays’ principle for real estate purchases. This means that, in future, estate agents will only be paid commission by those who engage them, which is usually the seller.
- Michael Voigtländer ·
- IW-Trends No. 1 ·
- 26 February 2019