How the Realtors' commission settlement could upend the housing industry

Home sellers and buyers stand to benefit from the end of the 6% commission

A sale sign stands outside a home in Wyndmoor, Pa
If the settlement is approved, the NAR will pay $418 million to compensate home sellers across the country
(Image credit: Matt Rourke / AP)

The sweeping Realtors' commission settlement announced last week could resolve class-action lawsuits accusing the National Association of Realtors (NAR) of artificially driving up the cost of buying and selling homes under one of the world's most lucrative commission structures. If a court approves the agreement, the influential trade group, whose membership peaked at 1.6 million realtors in 2022, will pay $418 million to compensate home sellers across the country. The organization will also scrap rules that have made sellers pay 5% to 6% commissions, split between buyers' and sellers' agents, on a home's sale price.

A group of Missouri home sellers sued, arguing the fee system amounted to price fixing. A federal jury decided in October that the NAR and large brokerage firms had conspired to artificially inflate costs and awarded $1.8 billion in damages, which could have been tripled under antitrust law. Under the settlement, the NAR gets the damages reduced and resolves a flurry of copycat lawsuits, according to The Associated Press. In exchange, it gives up its right to appeal. 

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