A jury verdict in a historic consumer rights trial recently delivered justice against the real estate industry’s rampant price fixing − but justice will fall short if the National Association of Realtors chooses to appeal rather than change its ways.
For years, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has imposed a rule requiring home sellers to offer set commissions to any buyer’s agent involved in selling their home. The policy enabled large brokerages like HomeServices of America and Keller Williams to inflate their fees, costing homeowners billions of dollars in home equity annually.
But homeowners fought back. More than 500,000 plaintiffs filed a class-action lawsuit arguing that the NAR rules violated federal antitrust law by allowing price fixing. The stakes were immense, given NAR’s political clout as America’s largest trade association with over 1.5 million members.
Many legal observers doubted a group of homeowners could prevail against such a real estate juggernaut. But prevail they did.
In court, we called the world’s most powerful people in real estate to the witness stand in Kansas City, Missouri. After reviewing clear evidence of collusion, the jury resoundingly found NAR and the top corporate real estate companies guilty of conspiring to fix commissions and awarded plaintiffs a historic $1.8 billion in damages.
This unequivocal verdict confirmed that anti-competitive practices in home sales amounted to illegal price fixing. NAR,…