“Disguised” FSBO Market Share

Some big news happened last week in Texas which I discuss on my blog [link removed]. In a nutshell, the FTC obtained a Consent Order from the Austin Board of Realtors to eliminate a rule that treated Exclusive Agency Listings different from Exclusive Right to Sell Listings, at least with respect to the publishing of those listings on public web sites. Rules like these have been adopted to deal with flat fee listing brokers who did nothing more than insert the listing into the MLS database. In other words, these are “disguised” FSBOs where the owner has agreed to pay some selling office commission but usually receives little or no additional help from the listing broker.

In its investigation, the FTC found that, prior to the adoption of the rule, 18% of the listings in the Austin MLS were Exclusive Agency Listings. Once the rule was adopted, the number of Exclusive Agency Listings dropped to 2.5% of the total.

I have always heard that the FSBO rate was somewhere around 10-15% nationally. Since the 18% figure does not include what I might call “pure” FSBOs where the seller basically hammers up a sign and calls it good, the actual FSBO rate in Austin (before the rule adoption) was probably greater than 20%. Is this surprising? Do you think it reflects historical numbers or is some kind of trend? Any thoughts on where the 15.5% went after the rule was adopted?