The Justice Department on Thursday, July 1, stated it is withdrawing from an antitrust settlement it reached last year with the real-estate industry’s largest trade group over brokers’ commissions.
The move marks a change in position by the Biden administration after Trump-era antitrust enforcers reached the agreement. It also signals the Department is poised to return to its prior investigation in order to take a broader look at practices in the real-estate market.
The Department sued the National Association of Realtors on antitrust grounds—and filed a concurrent settlement—in November. The lawsuit accused the group of maintaining anticompetitive rules that created an environment in which there was little visibility for home buyers about the commissions a buyer’s agent would earn.
The settlement included terms designed to increase transparency and deter misrepresentations regarding broker commissions.
The Department stated Thursday it has since determined that the settlement doesn’t adequately protect its right to investigate other conduct by the trade group that could impact competition and harm home buyers and sellers.
Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.