NBC News National Correspondent Vicky Nguyen investigated the purchase of a house in Dallas, Texas, and the NAR segregation rule that Zillow agreed to apply to its websites in January. Zillow’s separate display places homes sold by old brokers in its main feed and blocks homes sold by innovative brokers like REX in a “hidden” tab. This hurts consumers, as existing homes on Zillow’s main tab have commissions ranging from 5 to 6 percent, while homes buried in the hidden tab have much lower commissions.
“Consumers don’t see these homes. American homebuyers deserve better. American home sellers deserve more choice,” said Rex General Counsel Michel toth during the play.
“I’m not surprised that a small adjustment has had such a big impact,” said Benjamin Keys, professor of real estate at the Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.
Zillow’s response to NBC’s investigation blamed NAR and “outdated rules forced Zillow to change the way ads appear.”
NAR singled out Zillow as saying, “The way Zillow displays listings is between Zillow and each multiple listing service.”
NAR further distorted the facts during the NBC Now interview by saying that “court says Rex is not likely to prevail in his case” despite this on September 2, U.S. District Judge Thomas zilly REX’s trial lit up green, and in August, the US Department of Justice filed a motion to correct prior false statements of fact by the National Association of Realtors.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors ran a public relations campaign misleading the media about a “lawsuit” against the US Department of Justice. Despite national headlines, the NAR filing was not a lawsuit but a motion to evade federal investigation into nearly two dozen anti-competitive conduct investigations, including the segregation rule and antitrust activity. potential illegal acts.
Michel toth, Rex General Counsel Responded to Zillow and NAR’s comment, saying, “This case is becoming a must-see for real estate consumers and lawyers. Consumers and the law are clearly on Rex’s side. This is why NAR and Zillow are pointing the finger at each other and why NAR has to engage in disinformation campaigns to hide its outdated methods.Today, NAR is not only fighting an antitrust challenge of REX, but is also looking into the barrel of an unprecedented federal investigation into its business practices. ”
Timeline: Rex vs. Zillow
- At March 9, REX, the pro-consumer digital platform and full-service real estate brokerage, has filed a federal antitrust complaint against Zillow, Trulia and the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
- At August 10, the US Department of Justice files a brief in the REX / Zillow-NAR segregation rule case “to prevent the drawing of unwarranted inferences from a now expired 2008 consent decree” and to prevent the National Association of Realtors to use Â»the 2008 consent decree to protect driving.
- At September 2, U.S. District Court Judge Thomas S. Zilly dismissed the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Zillow’s motions to dismiss REX’s antitrust and consumer protection law challenge against the NAR segregation rule. The Court held that REX sufficiently alleged that NAR and Zillow conspired to restrict trade and harm consumers by stating: “the plaintiff plausibly alleged that Zillow agreed to use MLS rules to restrict trade. ”
Timeline: Recent actions by the Biden administration in real estate
- At 1st of July, the Ministry of Justice (DOJ) denied a proposed settlement by the Trump administration with NAR. The unprecedented action sided with REX’s position in a February comment letter that called on the DOJ to withdraw from the settlement and take further action, including a broader investigation into the association and the anti-competitive practices of its member companies.
- At July 6, the Department of Justice issued a Civil Inquiry Request (CID) to NAR in connection with an antitrust investigation into “residential real estate brokerage services in metropolitan areas across United States. ”
- At July 9th, President Biden’s executive order ordered the FTC to fight real estate competition. This highlighted the broken brokerage practices that REX was born to replace.
- At September 13, NAR challenges the US DOJ CID and, in doing so, makes public the full scope of the July 6 CID.
About the Federal Inquiry into the National Association of Real Estate Agents
- The July 6 CID reports an extensive DOJ antitrust investigation into more than 20 separate NAR and MLS policies, practices and rules.
- The CID focuses on the compulsory offer of compensation to brokers, an existential threat to NAR.
- The CID targets the NAR segregation rule, with potentially major implications for Zillow. REX is challenging Zillow’s adoption of the segregation rule, and the CID shows a clear interest from the DOJ as the federal judge in the REX case has given the case the green light for discovery.
The full CID can be read here.