The National Association of Realtors (NAR) and large brokerages face over $1.8 billion in damages after a federal jury found them guilty of antitrust violations for artificially inflating home sale commissions.
The ruling came Tuesday after a two-week trial involving commission-fixing claims from home sellers in Midwestern states. The jury deliberated just hours before ruling that NAR conspired to keep commissions high, defying technological changes.
With antitrust laws allowing triple damages, the total penalty could exceed $5 billion, pending the judge’s decision. Plaintiffs also want mandated industry changes.
NAR has battled accusations for years
For years, the National Association of Realtors has battled accusations from regulators and private plaintiffs that it colluded to maintain high sales costs despite disruptions. This landmark verdict marks NAR’s biggest antitrust setback yet. “We will appeal the jury’s verdict,” said an NAR spokesperson in response.
The class action is the first of two major lawsuits targeting longstanding realtor practices and compensation models. The cases argue that NAR rules have blocked lower-cost alternatives from emerging. The mammoth verdict underscores heightened legal threats to realtor commissions.