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Judge Dismisses Home-Listing Service Antitrust Suit

 |  August 17, 2021

A California federal judge has dismissed an antitrust complaint alleging the real estate listing service operated by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and its local chapters unlawfully required agents to post houses for sale or risk losing access to the marketing platform, reported Reuters.

US District Judge Vince Chhabria ruled Monday that the plaintiff, Top Agent Network, which runs a competing but smaller home-listing service, had failed to show how the NAR policy violates antitrust law.

Most home sales in the US are listed on NAR’s local “multiple listing service,” a subscription database showing houses for sale in a market. Top Agent Network was founded in 2010 as a more narrow listing service for only high-volume agents. The network said it should be allowed to post homes for sale on its service that do not otherwise appear on the larger one NAR operates.

“It may well be that NAR’s policy has anticompetitive effects. But it is not anticompetitive to the extent that it prevents members of an exclusive listing service like TAN from concealing listings from NAR’s subscribers while simultaneously benefiting from access to NAR’s service,” Chhabria said in Monday’s ruling.

A lawyer for Top Agent Network, Paul Llewellyn of San Francisco’s Lewis & Llewellyn, on Tuesday expressed disappointment with the ruling but noted “the court clearly has concerns about the potential anticompetitive nature of the policy.”

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