The Freakonomics twins are at it again in this week's New York Times, and they are picking a familiar target. They turn their attention to the real-estate industry again this time discussing the impact of the internet. The authors suggest that we should have sympathy for real-estate agents because they could soon share the same fate as travel agents. Something tells me that the calls for sympathy are somewhat insincere since they spend the rest of the article showing that the agents are overpaid for the amount of work they do.
According to Dubner and Levitt, the internet is starting to bring the costs associated with home sales in line with the actual work that is done in the process and thereby will eliminate the need for overpriced agents. In an additional slam on real estate agents, they mention how the Justice Department has brought suit on the National Association of Realtors for anti-competitive practices.