Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Real estate commission madness

The Queensland government is set to remove the maximum commission that residential real estate agents can charge from the Property Agents and Motor Dealers Regulation 2001. Currently the regulation prescribes in Schedule 1A that

The maximum commission payable on the purchase or sale of residential property is—

(a) if the purchase or sale price is not more than $18000—5% of the price; or

(b) if the purchase or sale price is more than $18000—

(i) $900; and

(ii) 2.5% of 

The common practice since the introduction of the regulation has been for all agents to charge this maximum.

The Deputy Premir Paul Lucas is spinning that dergulation will somehow benefit home sellers. Yeah. Right.

Admittedly, NSW, Vic and the ACT don’t have regulated commissions for real estate agents, and the common practice in these states is to charge 2.5% for homes in urban areas, and between 2.5% and 4% for homes in outer and remote areas. It appears from this comparison that Queensland’s regulation mostly benefits those in outer areas and rural and remote areas - those with the lowest value homes.

The question you must ask, is whether the regulation is disrupting functioning markets such that there is an efficieny gain from removing it? I have yet to hear of a real estate agent refusing a listing because the commission is too low. There are always other agents willing to try their luck.

In fact, recent competition suggests that more agents are negotiating below this maximum. I wrote earlier how lower commissions could be a massive competitive advantage for new agencies.  

Indeed, when the regulation came in home prices across Queensland were less than half of their current levels. So for every sale, an agent now makes double from charging the same commission. If this regulation was a problem we should have felt it years ago, not now.

Poor REIQ Chairman Pamela Bennet reckons “the regulation of commission rates for residential property transactions has not kept pace with the changing market resulting in consumers not receiving the benefits originally intended” What now?

For the maximum to have kept pace with the changing market it should have been reduced over time so that the inflation adjusted average commission was constant – theoretically providing the same benefits as originally intended.

The only logic I can see is that the government thinka this change will stimulate sales and hand them back some stamp duty revenue? Sorry. That's not going to happen.


  1. personally I don't think they reckon on anything, they're just trying to prop up something (so they can keep milking it) which should be left alone.

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  3. Very informative post! I don't have idea about commission in real estate before. Anyway, now I know. Thanks for sharing.


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  5. Whenever promoting real estate with a property broker you generally are going to have to accept to a amount that will be compensated to the property broker who detailed the property as well as the broker that actually offers it...even if they are the same person. However, discussing real estate commissions is possible and it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

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