Policy Documents

Massachusetts Real Estate Licensing Requirement Benefits Agents Not Consumers

Benjamin Powell and Evgeny Vorotnikov –
February 1, 2012

More than a decade ago the Massachusetts Association of Realtors succeeded in getting the state to increase real estate license renewal requirements. They rallied behind the importance of adding a continuing education requirement for agents in the industry, claiming that these courses would increase the quality of service to Massachusetts homebuyers.

This Beacon Hill Institute policy study found that their quality of service never increased but that instead the industry enriched itself through the regulations.

Continuing education courses often don’t have much to do with industry practice. They also often lack any exit exams demonstrating that anything valuable was learned through the instruction. However, added regulations do succeed in eliminating competition. In this case, MAR’s new requirement effectively pushed large blocks of agents out of the business.