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Michael Voigtländer IW-Trends No. 1 26. February 2019 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.

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The ‘Principal Pays’ Principle in Real Estate Brokerage
Michael Voigtländer IW-Trends No. 1 26. February 2019

International Practice and Economic Effects: The ‘Principal Pays’ Principle in Real Estate Brokerage

IW-Trends

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German Economic Institute German Economic Institute

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.

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.

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The ‘Principal Pays’ Principle in Real Estate Brokerage
Michael Voigtländer IW-Trends No. 1 26. February 2019

Michael Voigtländer: Das Bestellerprinzip in der Immobilienvermittlung - Internationale Praxis und ökonomische Effekte

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German Economic Institute German Economic Institute

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Pekka Sagner / Michael Voigtländer in International Journal of Housing Policy External Publication 6. May 2022

Supply side effects of the Berlin rent freeze

On 23 February 2020, the Berlin Senate introduced the Berlin rent freeze (‘Mietendeckel’). The law was repealed on 25 March 2021. The Berlin rent freeze was an unprecedented market intervention in the German housing market.

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Michael Voigtländer / Jonas Zdrzalek IW-Trends No. 1 14. April 2022

An Analysis of the Current Risk Levels in Residential Real Estate Financing in Germany

The German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) is keeping a watchful eye on the granting of housing mortgages and from 2023 on will require lending banks to increase their equity capital to cover potential risks.

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