Will a shifting market kill off pocket listings?

While ‘Coming Soon’ pre-market listings will likely remain useful for luxury properties and as a tool to test price points, there will be fewer of them all-around, Realtors tell Inman

By Jim Dalrymple | Source Inman

In the heady days of the seller’s market, pocket listings were everywhere and agents were like oracles, showing buyers homes that hadn’t hit the market yet and maybe never would. It was a time when getting a “deal” meant winning a bidding war or making an offer before anyone else even knew a property was available.

But with the market shifting in favor of buyers in a growing number of places around the country, the days of the ubiquitous pocket listing may be numbered.

Though the practice of withholding a property from multiple listing services likely won’t disappear entirely, real estate professionals from across the U.S. said this week that pocket listings may play a diminished or more specialized role in the future.

“It obviously doesn’t work as well when there’s less demand and less inventory,” Gary Gold, a Los Angeles-based Realtor with Hilton & Hyland told Inman, “In a buyers market, does a pocket listing make as much sense? No, it doesn’t.”

Pocket listings — also sometimes known as whisper or pre-market listings — have garnered considerable attention in recent months as a way to generate buzz. They were so popular that they were the target of criticism from Redfin and landed on the radar of the Department of Justice. Several top-selling brokerages launched their own pre-market listings websites, including Long and FosterCompass and The Agency.

It was not uncommon to visit open houses in a market such as Los Angeles only to be told by the home’s listing agent that “I have a few more properties that I can show you before anyone else sees them.”

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