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In New York, people with the right money and the right connections are purchasing real estate before it goes on the market. 

While so-called “whisper,” “pocket,” or “off-market” sales aren’t new, they provide a major advantage at a time of limited housing availability and outsized demand — and many realtors say they are unethical. They’re also surging in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

According to Redfin, the amount of off-market transactions in the US has increased 67% since 2019. In New York City alone, 20.6% of homes that were sold in the third quarter of 2021 were pocket listings. The Wall Street Journal reported that 2021 saw a total of $188 million in off-market sales in the city.