A class-action lawsuit was filed last week by a Minnesota home seller that alleges that the big four multiple listing services have driven up costs to sellers and have stifled competition. The complaint claims that the multiple listing services conspired with the National Association of Realtors and required brokers to offer buyer broker compensation at inflated rates when listing a property on an MLS site.
“The conspiracy has saddled home sellers with a cost that would be borne by the buyer in a competitive market,” the complaint states. “Moreover, because most buyer brokers will not show homes to their clients where the seller is offering a lower buyer broker commission, or will show homes with higher commission offers first, sellers are incentivized when making the required blanket, non-negotiable offer to procure the buyer brokers’ cooperation by offering a high commission.”
The suit goes on to allege that the conspiracy has kept buyer brokers’ commissions in the 2.5-3% range despite their diminishing role in the transaction, as “a majority of homebuyers no longer locate prospective homes with the assistance of a broker, but rather independently through online services.”
The suit states that it will represent any sellers who paid a broker commission during the sale of their property in the last four years in areas covered by regional MLS sites, which includes sellers in Texas, Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, Michigan, Florida, Nevada, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Arizona, Virginia, Utah and Washington, D.C.
This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.