Pocket Listing Ruling Opens Up Inventory

Pocket listings are off-market listings which may never reach the public market through the MLS. Sellers choose to keep listings off market mainly for privacy reasons or they hope to retain more value through the perception that the listing is more exclusive than listings in the MLS.

Earlier this week, the board of the National Association of Realtors overwhelmingly approved a new pocket listing policy (sometimes known as “whisper” listings) with a 729-70 vote in favor of instituting the controversial new policy. Under the Clear Cooperation Policy (also known as MLS Statement 8.0), listing brokers who are participating in a multiple listing service are required to submit a listing to the MLS within one day of marketing the listing to the public. According to NAR, MLSs will have until May 1, 2020 to adopt the policy.

As stated by NAR:

“Within one business day of marketing a property to the public, the listing broker must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes, but is not limited to, flyers displayed in windows, yard signs, digital marketing on public facing websites, brokerage website displays (including IDX and VOW), digital communications marketing (email blasts), multi-brokerage listing sharing networks, and applications available to the general public.”

More Inventory For Consumers

The goal of the Clear Cooperation Policy is to no longer exclude consumers and “provide equal opportunity to all”. The policy is a welcome change for consumers who have faced housing inventory shortages for some time, impacting general availability and affordability. After September 2019 home sales numbers were in, NAR’s chief economist, Lawrence Yun, said “We must continue to beat the drum for more inventory. Home prices are rising too rapidly because of the housing shortage, and this lack of inventory is preventing home sales growth potential.”

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