In late March, a federal judge in in Northern Illinois said home sellers accusing the National Association of Realtors (and a group of real estate brokerages) of conspiring to inflate commission rates can move forward as a class action lawsuit. According to a report from Reuters, U.S. Judge Andrea Wood, of the Northern District of Illinois, granted class-action status to past home sellers seeking more than $13 billion in damages and creates a separate class of current and future sellers who want a court injunction that bars subsequent violations of U.S. antitrust law.
The lawsuit challenges a requirement that sellers make “blanket unilateral offers of compensation’ to buyers” brokers when a home goes on sale via a multiple listing service. That system puts pressure on sellers to offer high commissions to attract buyers’ brokers, the sellers claimed.
NAR spokesperson Mantill Williams said this practice “saves sellers time and money by having so many buyer brokers participating in that local marketplace and thus creates a larger pool of buyers for sellers.”