The Real Deal New York

Congressmen want regulators to study competition in real estate listings industry

2008 settlement with National Association of Realtors set to expire later this year
February 02, 2018 11:45AM

From left: The U.S. Capitol building, Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island and Republican Tom Marino of Pennsylvania

A pair of influential Congress members believe regulators should look into potentially uncompetitive practices in the real estate listings industry, as an antitrust settlement with the National Association of Realtors from 2005 is set to expire later this year.

Two members of the House Judiciary Committee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law sent a letter to the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission in January asking them to update a 2007 report that found competition had been hindered by “multiple listing services and the National Association of Realtors, state legislatures and state real estate commissions.”

“Among other issues, we think it especially important that an updated report review the availability and distribution of real estate listings data within the industry,” wrote Republican Tom Marino of Pennsylvania and Democrat David Cicilline of Rhode Island, Inman News reported.

The DOJ in 2008 reached a settlement agreement in an antitrust lawsuit with NAR, which had put in a rule that allowed brokers to limit the display of listing data on the websites of certain rival online brokerages.

That agreement expires in November, which the congressmen said makes an updated report on real estate competition “especially timely now.”

The DOJ plans to hold a workshop with the FTC in the spring on real estate competition. The regulatory agencies declined to comment to Inman on whether or not they planned to update the 2007 report.

Competition is ramping up among major listing services like Zillow and Realtor.com. [Inman News]Rich Bockmann