The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has sanctioned with the payment of 1.25 million euros to Idealista, Remax, Inmovilla, Look & Find, Witei y Anaconda for having carried out a series of agreements to fix prices and exchange information in the real estate brokerage market.
The highest penalty corresponds to Idealista, who will have to face the payment of 730.000 euros, followed by Remax (375,720 euros) Inmovilla (83,149), Look & Find (31,486), Witei (18,925) and Anaconda (1,749), according to the CNMC.
In the case of Witei, which has collaborated through the leniency program, its sanction has been reduced by 45%. Despite the fact that against this resolution There is no administrative appealYes, you can file a contentious-administrative appeal in the National Court within two months.
Competition explains that these companies used a system known as MLS (Multiple Listing System), It works through a database that allows real estate users to share properties captured under a shared exclusive regime.
When a real estate user of the MLS captures a property, it can include it in the system, which allows the rest of the users to make the sale. In this case, the capturing office and the selling office share the commission agreed for the global brokerage service offered.
In 2002, Remax and Look & Find promoted the project in Spain; Habitania, later acquired by Idealista, was in charge of technological development; In 2012, Inmovilla and Habitania adapted their systems to make them compatible; and in 2017, Anaconda, made up of Remax, Look & Find and MLS, joined the structure and was in charge of develop and manage a common foundation of property sharing.
In addition to the franchising companies Remax and Look & Find, the real estate software providers Idealista (through Idealista Tools), Inmovilia and Witei, actively contributed to develop and implement the system by which the offense was committed.
Rules of Procedure
The franchisors that developed this MLS system approved a mandatory regulation for real estate users that required a minimum commission of 4% on sales and one month on rentals. It also imposed a commission distribution at 50% between the office that collects the property and the one that closed the transaction.
The breach of the rules could lead to disciplinary sanctions and even the suspension of associate status, with the consequent impossibility of accessing the real estate exchange.
The software companies They also participated in anti-competitive behavior, since they were in meetings to design the system and established filters and other means of control that ensured that all properties uploaded to the system met the conditions required in the internal regulations, according to the CNMC.
The implementation of a software that allowed the monitoring of fees in properties captured from competitors and access to sensitive information among them made it possible to ensure the application of the system in the real estate market, which is characterized by being atomized on the supply and demand side.
Consequently, both regulations and software developments limited competition among real estate companies by setting minimum commissions and other commercial terms and generate a level of transparency incompatible with the necessary competition between entities.
In addition, they excluded from the advantages of sistema MLS to those entities that were not willing to accept the anti-competitive rules contained in the regulations.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.