US DOJ pulls out of proposed settlement with NAR over its antitrust lawsuit

On July 1, the U.S. Department of Justice pulled out of a proposed settlement with NAR related to its antitrust lawsuit against the trade organization announced last November. Under that proposed settlement, NAR agreed to make buyer agent compensation fees publicly available via MLSs, prohibit buyer’s agents from advertising their services as “free,” and make all properties listed on the MLS available to all licensed agents. NAR was still implementing those changes when the DOJ pulled out citing an interest in keep its ability to pursue future antitrust claims against NAR unfettered. This development, along with new U.S. Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan, regarded as tough on antitrust issues, suggests that the DOJ is evaluating expanding or changing its existing lawsuit against NAR, or filing a new one. This, along with the existing handful of class-action antitrust lawsuits against NAR from homesellers and homebuyers, adds some weight to concerns about further legal actions that could significantly change how U.S. real estate has been practiced for decades.