In a landmark antitrust ruling, a Missouri jury in October 2023 ordered the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and several large real estate companies to pay $1.78 billion in damages to a class of over 250,000 home sellers. The jury found that the NAR and its members had conspired to artificially inflate home sale commissions by requiring sellers to pay a commission to the buyer's broker, even if the seller did not want to.
The verdict is a major victory for consumers and could have a significant impact on the real estate industry. For years, home sellers have been complaining about the high cost of real estate commissions, which typically range from 5% to 6% of the sale price of a home. This can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of buying or selling a home.
The NAR has denied any wrongdoing and plans to appeal the verdict. However, if the verdict is upheld, it could lead to lower home sale commissions for consumers. The verdict could also force the NAR to change some of its practices, such as its requirement that sellers pay a commission to the buyer's broker.
The verdict is also a sign that the government is taking antitrust violations in the real estate industry more seriously. In recent years, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stepped up its enforcement of antitrust laws in the real estate industry. The FTC has filed lawsuits against several real estate companies for antitrust violations, and it has also issued guidance to the industry on how to comply with antitrust laws.
The NAR verdict is a reminder that consumers have rights and that they can challenge anticompetitive practices in the real estate industry. If you are a home buyer or seller, you should be aware of your rights and should not hesitate to challenge unfair or anticompetitive practices.
Here are some of the potential implications of the NAR verdict:
- Lower home sale commissions for consumers
- More competition in the real estate market
- Changes to NAR practices, such as its requirement that sellers pay a commission to the buyer's broker
- Increased government scrutiny of the real estate industry
The NAR verdict is still under appeal, so it is too early to say what its ultimate impact will be. However, it is clear that the verdict is a major victory for consumers and could have a significant impact on the real estate industry.