Despite being banned by the National Association of Realtors since 2019, pocket listings are on the rise. The New York Times says close to 20% of all homes on the market today are never made available to the public — with the number of pocket listings growing by as much as 63% since 2020 — and that brokers now use encrypted apps to pass around pocket listings in what amounts to a massive shadow market.
But this month, the N.A.R. revealed that its failure to enforce its own ban on pocket listings is a focus of an investigation by the Department of Justice’s antitrust division. Legal action is likely some way off, but the potentially prejudicial practice — much like “love letters” — could be on the way out. Which is probably for the best, on multiple fronts. Studies show that pocket listing sells for 6-20% less than publicly listed properties.