Zillow files antitrust lawsuit against two MLSs

Listing portal targets restriction on its home tour management platform

Zillow Files Antitrust Suit Against Two MLSs
Zillow's Rich Barton (Zillow, Getty)

‘Tis the season for giving, and Zillow got in on the tradition with an antitrust suit addressed to two multiple listing services. 

The firm, along with its home showing management platform, arguing that a new MLS-owned tool is getting an unfair advantage, according to the complaint reported by Inman,

The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, claims Arizona Regional MLS and MLS Inc., violated antitrust laws by conspiring to restrict access to Zillow’s ShowingTime platform. 

Zillow’s complaint argues the two listing services, which operate in the Phoenix and Milwaukee areas, plan to disable their integrations with ShowingTime, thereby forcing agents to use Aligned Showings. 

“If Defendants succeed there will be no competition to spur improvements to their product or to prevent Defendants from raising prices for their product,” the firm says in the complaint.

It appears to be the first antitrust lawsuit filed against an MLS system by an industry player, but just the latest such complaint centered on the rules dictating access to residential tools. 

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

A wave of antitrust cases filed by home sellers and buyers have targeted brokerages and trade groups in markets across the country after after a verdict in a Missouri lawsuit found the National Association of Realtors liable in colluding to inflate prices by enforcing its Clear Cooperation Policy in exchange for MLS access. 

Proptech companies like Zillow said in the wake of the verdict they see opportunity from the antitrust litigation facing legacy brokerages, who at the minimum will have to pay litigation costs or settlement money.

CEO Rich Barton said in a third quarter earnings call the firm is “well positioned to thrive regardless of how it all plays out.” 

Opendoor CEO Carrie Wheeler went a step further, saying a reduction in buyers’ agents could cut costs for the iBuyer.

“The buyers’ broker commission represents approximately 2.5 points of our overall cost structure, which is meaningful,” said Wheeler during the company’s third-quarter earnings call. “If the buyer broker commission were reduced or went away, those costs to us would be reduced.”

Read more

The Landmark $1.8 Billion Commissions Verdict by The Numbers
By the Numbers: The landmark $1.8B commissions verdict
REBNY Tells Agents It Plans To Litigate Antitrust Suit
New York
REBNY vows to fight antitrust lawsuit 
NAR general counsel Lesley Muchow (NAR, Getty; Illustration by The Real Deal)
NAR warns of “Wild West” if plaintiffs win broker commission lawsuit
Recommended For You