September 2005 Archives

Real Estate Live on the Housing "Bubble"

Washington Post Real Estate Editor Maryann Haggerty:

Why don't I start off with a few numbers? As the regulars here know, I have no clue whether there's a housing bubble out there. But I do have a report on my desk, from the National Association of Business Economics, which surveyed a panel of 202 economists.

Of those experts, only 14 percent believe there is a national housing bubble, but 79 percent believe there are major local bubbles in various areas. (But they don't say which ones!) Of those, 83 percent said they would buy a primary residence at today's prices, but just 17 percent would buy investment property.

So let's hear what you have to say!

Diller's IAC Enters Brokerage Business

James R. Hagerty:

"It's a toe in the water," Ms. Anderson said. That toe is likely to cause a splash among real-estate brokers, however, because Mr. Diller has long been seen as a major potential rival. Just as services like Expedia hammered local travel agents, online real-estate operators could eat into the revenue of local real-estate brokers, though selling homes is much more complicated than selling airline tickets.

IAC is active in residential real-estate through its LendingTree.com and RealEstate.com sites, which offer to find an agent for buyers or sellers. The brokerage firms where those agents work agree to pay about 30% of the commission to those IAC units, which share the money with the consumer, often in the form of a Home Depot or American Express gift card. IAC also offers such rebates through affinity programs with airlines and Costco Wholesale Corp.

Not a surprise, the referral business is not very big, at least by Diller standards.

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