Missouri Jury Rules Prominent Group Of Realtors Must Pay Over $1.78 Billion For Deceit

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Ilan Hulkower Contributor
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A federal jury in Missouri found a major group of realtors guilty of colluding to inflate real estate commissions and ordered the companies pay a little over $1.78 billion in damages, court filings show.

The alleged conspiracy occurred from 2015 to 2022, the jury document reads. Prominent real estate groups such as the National Association of Realtors (NAR); HomeService of America Inc.; BHH Affiliates, LLC and others were accused of being involved. None of the real estate groups listed in the jury document escaped a guilty verdict. (RELATED: China’s Real Estate Crisis Worsens As Companies Risk Default)

The jury document awarded the class plaintiffs a total of $1,785,310, 872. The class plaintiffs represent the sellers of over 260,000 homes in Missouri, Illinois and Kansas, Reuters reported.

The verdict was reached after two weeks of trial, CBS News reported. Michael Ketchmark, the lead lawyer for the plaintiffs, told the outlet he expected his clients to eventually be awarded over $5 billion due to U.S. antitrust law potentially tripling the award.

“Today was a day of accountability — for the longest time the NAR has used its market power to get a stranglehold grip on home ownership,” Ketchmark told CBS.

A number of the real estate franchises have announced their intention to appeal the verdict. “It will likely be several years before this case is finally resolved,” Mantill Williams, NAR’s vice president of communication, told Axios.

“This is not the end,” a spokesperson for Keller Williams told CBS in an email, noting the company would consider an appeal.

“Today’s decision means that buyers will face even more obstacles in an already challenging real estate market, and sellers will have a harder time realizing the value of their homes. It could also force homebuyers to forgo professional help during what is likely the most complex and consequential financial transaction they’ll make in their lifetime,” a spokesperson for HomeService of America wrote to CBS.