HousingWire is reporting that, in mid-April, a federal judge in Kansas City, Missouri certified a class action lawsuit that makes “hundreds of thousands” of U.S. housing consumers plaintiffs in what is potentially an historic case over real estate fees & commissions. The defendants are the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as well as four of the largest real estate firms in the country – Realogy, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices of America, RE/MAX, and Keller Williams. In addition, HousingWIre says Judge Stephen Bough‘s 41-page ruling does not say either way whether he believes that NAR and the four brokerages conspired to make real estate commissions higher. Stay tuned…
“…Bough does make clear that he agrees with plaintiff’s proposed remedies for moving the antitrust case forward: Certifying a class of plaintiffs that includes: “All persons in the United States who, from April 29, 2015 to the present, used a listing broker affiliated” with either Realogy, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, RE/MAX or Keller Williams in the sale of the home listed on the Heartland, Columbia Board of Realtors, Mid America Regional Information System, and the Southern Missouri Regional multiple listings services.”
The NAR had this to say in a statement to HousingWire:
“We are disappointed in the decision and plan to appeal. The pro-competitive, pro-consumer local broker marketplaces serve the best interests of buyers and sellers. Local broker marketplaces ensure equity, transparency, and market-driven pricing options for the benefit of home buyers and sellers. These marketplaces reduce transaction costs by ensuring, among other things, that a buyer broker and their client understand how much the listing broker will pay the buyer broker for procuring a buyer for the listed property. Local broker marketplaces also level the playing field among brokerages, allowing small brokerages to compete with large ones, and provide for unprecedented competition among brokers, including different service and pricing models.” The NAR’s statement to HousingWire.