Federal Jury Awards $5.3 Billion Verdict in Antitrust Case Against National Association of Realtors and Real Estate Franchisors

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The National Association of Realtors and major real estate franchisors have been found guilty in an antitrust case that accused them of colluding to inflate real estate commissions. A federal jury issued a verdict in favor of approximately 500,000 Missouri homesellers seeking reimbursements for $1.78 billion in commissions paid to buyer brokers. The jury awarded $1,785,310,872 in damages, which will be trebled to $5.356 billion under the law. The case focused on whether there was a conspiracy among the defendants — NAR, Keller Williams, Realogy, RE/MAX, HomeServices of America, and its subsidiaries — to raise real estate broker commission rates. The defendants were found liable for causing the plaintiffs to pay more for brokerage services. The cooperative compensation rule, known as the Participation Rule, was at the center of the lawsuit and required listing brokers to offer compensation to buyer brokers. NAR and the other defendants have indicated they will appeal the verdict and ask for the damages to be reduced. The outcome of the case could have significant implications for the real estate industry, impacting both buyers and sellers alike.