A Missouri jury awarded a class of home sellers $1.8 billion dollars in finding that the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”) and some of the nation’s largest real estate brokerages “conspired to require home sellers to pay the broker representing the buyer of their homes in violation of federal antitrust law.”
At the center of the case was NAR’s rule requiring sellers to pay a non-negotiable commission awarded to the buyer’s broker at a transaction’s closing (“Mandatory Payment Rule”). The brokerages then compelled their agents to belong to the NAR and adhere to the NAR’s rules. The resulting lack of competition for buy-side commissions caused inflated prices that were forced upon home sellers. Every brokerage in the industry understood that every other brokerage was behaving in this same way.