Real Estate Brokerage

Court Decision Limits Department of Justice Efforts to Investigate Anti-Competitive Policies of the Residential Real Estate Industry

Washington, D.C. – Stephen Brobeck, a senior fellow at the Consumer Federation of America, comments on Wednesday’s U.S. District Court ruling that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is required to accept a 2021 conditional agreement between the Trump Administration’s DOJ and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that limits future DOJ investigation of industry policies and practices.  For background information on the issue, see CFA’s July 8, 2021 release.

“The court’s decision will limit DOJ’s ability to investigate anti-competitive industry policies costing consumers billions of dollars annually.  These policies are related to the inability of home buyers to negotiate buyer agent commissions that are directly paid by listing agents and their seller clients.  Multiple listing services require listing agents to offer non-negotiable commissions to buyer agents in MLS home listings, which helps explain why research has shown that commissions are high and relatively uniform.  The reform of this anti-competitive policy must now come from courts in Illinois and Missouri that are deciding class action lawsuits against NAR and many large real estate firms.”