In a move that could help buyers and sellers analyze whether specific properties are "priced right," Washington's largest multiple listing...

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In a move that could help buyers and sellers analyze whether specific properties are “priced right,” Washington’s largest multiple listing service soon will allow real-estate brokers to make public how long a home has been on the market and listing price history.

Northwest Multiple Listing Service members, which include large and small real-estate brokerages in 19 Washington counties, can put this information on their Web sites beginning in July, the MLS announced Tuesday.

Knowing how long a home has been for sale will help buyers strategize offers, said Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a Seattle-based online brokerage. “Right now, there’s tremendous anxiety about what a property is really worth and what you should offer,” he said.

The information may also help sellers track sales times of nearby homes, providing a clear idea of how long it takes to land a buyer.

That can vary widely by location. For example, West Seattle homes currently average 83 days on the market, while those in Kirkland average 132 days, Kelman said, citing MLS data.

The newly available data also will let consumers know if prices on individual properties have dropped, another bit of information that can help buyers bid intelligently.

While making this data public might seem like a natural to consumers, it once again puts the Northwest MLS on the cutting edge of disclosure in an industry that has been guarded in sharing its information.

In 1996, the Northwest MLS became the nation’s first listing service to allow member brokers to put the entire local inventory of for-sale homes on their sites.

Seattle-area firms also have been pioneers in adding photos, video content, mapping and other features.

And now the listing service is “ahead of the curve” in allowing consumers to see how long homes have been for sale, said Kelman, whose firm has offices in Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C., and throughout California.

“It’s a much more progressive MLS than almost any we deal with,” said Kelman. “Our hat is off to the NWMLS. Those guys have guts.”

Calling it “a natural step toward providing more thorough information to consumers,” Tom Hurdelbrink, the listing service’s president and chief executive, said the change supports “brokers’ endeavors to meet evolving consumer desires and to position their companies as a definite source of information sought by consumers.”

That’s critical in technology-rich Seattle, where Zillow and other online real-estate sites have made inroads in providing data, Kelman said. If real-estate brokers withhold information from the public, “that effectively outsources our Web brain to someone else.

“We want our own sites to be the authoritative source for information about real estate. That’s why you’re starting to see more progressive policies,” Kelman said.

Elizabeth Rhodes: erhodes@seattletimes.com