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Measuring the Quantifiable Benefits of Selling Through MLS 

A group of real estate professionals with Bright MLS, an open multiple listing service (MLS) marketplace operating in several mid-Atlantic states, reports that its 2023 On-MLS Study of more than one million housing transactions revealed that homes marketed through a MLS consistently command an average price above homes not marketed through the MLS.

Furthermore, the annual study, now in its third year, revealed that this price gap has increased since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, which coincided with a strengthening sellers market.

The research team, led by Bright MLS Chief Economist Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, says the study, conducted to measure the pros of listing on the MLS, highlights a “clear benefit to homeowners looking to maximize the return on their home sale.”

Conducted in cooperation with Dr. Kevin Gillen, Senior Research Fellow, Lindy Institute for Urban Innovation at Drexel University, the study examined data collected in the mid-Atlantic's largest cities—Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.—between January 2019 and January 2023.

Researchers say listing on the MLS draws more competitive offers—specifically, MLS marketed homes brought in about 18.3% more, or an additional $53,890 to the seller—than those sold off MLS in 2022.

The researchers also found that the vast majority of homes sold were marketed through the MLS, with the share of on-MLS listings in the study’s coverage area reaching 85.5% in 2022.

"The research underscores the clear value of an open, clear and competitive marketplace for sellers," Sturtevant said. "The housing market may be settling into a 'new normal' around low inventory coupled with higher mortgage rates. What hasn't changed—and has only increased—is the benefit to buyers and sellers of promoting a home on the open marketplace."

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a multiple listing service ensures the industry remains competitive and equitable, in that they “level the playing field so that the smallest brokerage in town can compete with the biggest multi-state firm. Buyers and sellers can work with the professional of their choice, confident that they have access to the largest pool of properties for sale in the marketplace.”

The full Bright MLS report, including a video presentation, charts and methodology, is available at BrightMLS.com/OnMLSStudy.

About Author: Christina Hughes Babb

Christina Hughes Babb is a reporter for DS News and MReport. A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she has been a reporter, editor, and publisher in the Dallas area for more than 15 years. During her 10 years at Advocate Media/Dallas Magazine, she published thousands of articles covering local politics, real estate, development, crime, the arts, entertainment, and human interest, among other topics. She has won two national Mayborn School of Journalism Ten Spurs awards for nonfiction, and has penned pieces for Texas Monthly, Salon.com, Dallas Observer, Edible, and the Dallas Morning news, among others. Contact Christina at [email protected].

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