Realtors liable for nearly $1.8 billion in damages for inflating commissions, jury finds

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A jury in Missouri Tuesday found the National Association of Realtors (NAR), a real estate industry trade group, HomeServices of America and Keller Williams liable for nearly $1.8 billion in damages for conspiring to inflate commissions.

A judge could issue an injunction preventing commission sharing on multiple listing services (MLSs) which would hurt the buyer agent business,

“We view it as a tremendous day of accountability for these companies,” Michael Ketchmark, the lead attorney for the plaintiffs told CNN,

The lawsuit covered home sales that took place between April 2015 to June 2022. The decision came after a few hours of deliberation from the Kansas City jury.

According to NAR president Tracey Kasper, although the trial lasted 11 days, the matter is not close to being final.

“We will appeal the liability finding because we stand by the fact that NAR rules serve the best interests of consumers, support market-driven pricing and advance business competition,” Kasper’s statement said, “In the interim, we will ask the court to reduce the damages awarded by the jury.”

Kasper argued that consumers are “better off” and competition is “able to thrive” because of how local marketplaces function.

According to housing policy analyst Jaret Seiberg who spoke with CNN, an appeals process could take up to three years and the losing party will likely attempt to have the case tried in court.

Ketchmark filed a new class-action lawsuit again real estate companies including Douglas Elliman, Compass and Redfin Tuesday that alleges the companies violated antitrust laws.

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