A federal class-action lawsuit filed in South Carolina has accused the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and real estate giant Keller Williams Realty of violating federal antitrust laws. The suit alleges that this violation led to the artificial inflation of home prices in the state, per Yahoo News.
This legal action follows a recent case in Missouri where a jury verdict held the NAR accountable for illegal agreements with some of the nation’s largest real estate brokerage firms. The jury determined that these agreements resulted in $1.79 billion in losses for home sellers in Missouri. The damages in that case could potentially reach up to $5.3 billion, as “treble” or triple damages are being considered.
Among the co-defendants in the Missouri case were Keller Williams, Berkshire Hathaway’s HomeServices of America (formerly Century 21 Sweyer and Associates), RE/MAX, and Anywhere (formerly Realogy). Notably, Anywhere Real Estate and RE/MAX reached a $138 million settlement prior to the verdict.
The South Carolina lawsuit, filed on Monday, seeks class-action status on behalf of all home sellers in the state who utilized a listing broker affiliated with Keller Williams and listed their homes on one of the NAR’s Multiple Listing Services (MLS) since November 2019. This move suggests a widening scope for legal scrutiny into alleged antitrust practices within the real estate industry.
As both cases unfold, the real estate landscape may witness significant shifts in the wake of these legal challenges.
Source: Finance Yahoo