MLS & Associations

Think tank says MLSs should be investigated for antitrust

Report says limiting third-party access to real estate listing data restricts competition and harms consumers
  • A nonpartisan think tank is calling for federal regulators to investigate MLS actions restricting listing data from third-party websites.
  • The think tank also says state lawmakers should require brokers to provide open access to real estate listings.

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A Washington, D.C.-based think tank is calling for federal regulators to investigate multiple listing services that restrict data from listing websites for possible antitrust violations. The nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank, Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (ITIF), is also asking for state lawmakers to require brokers to provide free, unrestricted access to real estate listings. ITIF presented its recommendations in a report published earlier this month: "Blocked: Why Some Companies Restrict Data Access to Reduce Competition and How Open APIs Can Help." In the report, ITIF's Center for Data Innovation examined three industries -- real estate, financial services and air travel -- that have taken steps to limit third-party access to their data in ways the think tank believes restrict competition, reduce market transparency and harm consumers. "For example, MLSs will often prevent from using property data by creating strict data-use policies, denying acce...