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Who meets whom when buying property?

Economic Bulletin No. 1 | 2019

Purchaser principle when buying residential property

One reason for the stagnating homeownership rate in Germany for years is often cited as the high ancillary acquisition costs, which discourage households with low equity in particular from buying property. In addition to land transfer tax, notary and land registry fees, the brokerage commission is also a significant factor. However, there is no uniform and cross-national regulation on the amount and distribution of the broker’s commission. For this reason, the introduction of a nationwide buyer’s principle for the purchase of residential property is being discussed to prevent a possible predicament of buyers. Who is protected from whom by the buyer principle and what the typical buyer and seller household looks like is examined in this Economic Bulletin “Who meets whom when buying property”.

The buyer principle when buying and selling residential property – An economic analysis

The introduction of a nationwide buyer principle for the purchase of residential property is currently being discussed (draft law BMJV, 2019). In the future, the clients of the estate agents – mainly the sellers – would pay for the agent’s commission, so that the ancillary acquisition costs for buyers should decrease.

Whether this can be achieved with the buyer principle depends to a large extent on the probability of the sellers passing on the brokerage costs to the purchase prices. This study, commissioned by leading brokerage firms, therefore examines the potential effects of introducing the buyer-principle on a scientific and empirical basis.