Armour-piercing bullet hits the real estate brokers. Dead meat?
Oh shit! They're pissed now. Run! Hide under the bed. They're coming for your commissions.
Jury Finds Realtors Conspired to Keep Commissions High, Awards Nearly $1.8 Billion in Damages
The verdict, which hands loss to brokerages and industry trade association, could upend the home-sale industry
By Laura Kusisto and Shannon Najmabadi, WSJ
Oct. 31, 2023
Plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit have asked a judge to order changes in how the home-sale industry operates.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.—A federal jury on Tuesday found the National Association of Realtors and large residential brokerages liable for about $1.8 billion in damages after determining they conspired to keep commissions for home sales artificially high.
The verdict comes in the first of two major antitrust lawsuits that target decades-old industry practices and seek to drive down commissions and change the way agents are compensated. The two-week trial involved claims by home sellers in several Midwestern states. The jury issued its verdict after just hours of deliberations.
Under antitrust rules, the presiding judge could triple the damages verdict, which would total more than $5 billion. The plaintiffs also have asked the judge to order changes to how the industry operates.
For several years NAR has been fending off accusations by U.S. antitrust officials and private litigants that it has conspired to keep home-sale costs high in the face of major technological upheavals. This verdict is by far the group’s biggest setback yet.
An NAR spokesman said, “This matter is not close to being final as we will appeal the jury’s verdict.”
Write to Laura Kusisto at Laura.Kusisto@wsj.com and Shannon Najmabadi at firstname.lastname@example.org