Full service real estate agents and brokers collected an estimated $46.4 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 the company’s findings and claims that the numbers show declining home values have made real estate commissions "a luxury" that sellers cannot afford.

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