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Analysis: Commissions down $12B in 2008

NAR takes issue with ForSaleByOwner.com findings

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Full-service real estate agents and brokers collected an estimated $46.6 billion in commissions in 2008, down 8.6 percent from the year before and 34.6 percent from a peak of $71 billion at the height of the housing boom, according to an analysis by ForSaleByOwner.com.The analysis relied in part on sales and home price data from the National Association of Realtors, which questioned ForSaleByOwner.com's findings and its claims that the numbers show declining home values have made real estate commissions "a luxury" that sellers cannot afford.While few would dispute that total commissions paid to real estate agents have sagged during the downturn in concert with sales and prices, there's some disagreement over exactly how much commission revenue has fallen, and why.ForSaleByOwner.com provides services including advertising and property pricing reports to sellers who choose to represent themselves rather than list a home with an agent.The company also contracts with licensed rea...