Missouri Jury Convicts Realtors and Brokerages of Commission Inflation Conspiracy
A Kansas City jury has found the National Association of Realtors, HomeServices of America, and Keller Williams guilty of colluding to inflate commission rates through NAR’s Clear Cooperation Rule. The defendants have been ordered to pay $1.78 billion in damages, which could potentially reach $5.36 billion with treble damages. This verdict may lead to similar lawsuits in other states. The jury’s decision came after two weeks of testimony, in which the plaintiffs argued that the defendants knowingly violated their own antitrust rules to maintain high commission rates.
Judge Stephen Bough is yet to issue his final judgment, which could include banning the cooperative compensation rule nationally or keeping certain elements while requiring a minimum offer in “cooperative compensation.” RE/MAX and Anywhere settled in this suit, with both companies promising to appeal the ruling. The verdict may impact the real estate market, making it more challenging for buyers and sellers and potentially leading to changes in the industry’s practices.
Redfin: Majority Favor More Housing, But Not Apartments Nearby
A recent Redfin survey reveals that nearly 80% of respondents support policies advocating increased housing construction. However, when it comes to having an apartment community in their neighborhood, only one-third of respondents (32%) would feel optimistic, with 20% feeling negative and 48% feeling neutral about the prospect.
The survey also highlights the difference in views between homeowners and renters, with 74% of owners and 80% of renters supporting policies for more housing. Regarding new apartment communities nearby, about one-quarter of owners (25%) and renters (28%) would feel positive, while a higher percentage of owners (40%) than renters (24%) would feel negative. Building more housing is seen as a solution to the ongoing housing shortage and rising prices, with strategies including loosening zoning restrictions, allowing accessory dwelling units (ADUs), and offering tax incentives for developers.
It’s noted that personal preferences often conflict with the idea of building new housing, making it challenging to overcome community opposition even when there’s widespread support for housing construction, highlighting the complexity of the housing issue. While most Democrats and Republicans support building policies, a minority of both parties would feel positive about a new apartment community in their neighborhood, showcasing the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) challenge in housing development.
HUD and Biden Administration Promote Commercial-to-Residential Conversions
HUD and the Biden Administration have announced measures to increase housing supply and improve affordability. They have released a guidebook to assist communities and housing providers in accessing federal resources for converting commercial properties into residential or mixed-use developments. The Mortgage Bankers Association supports these initiatives and encourages the alignment of zoning laws, tax credits, and subsidies to maximize their impact, especially in the face of rising interest rates and construction costs.
Additionally, HUD has updated guidelines for using its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding, allowing for greater flexibility in boosting housing supply through acquisition, rehabilitation, and commercial-to-residential conversions. HUD also provides research funding for case studies on office-to-residential conversions to serve as roadmaps for localities interested in pursuing such projects. These efforts aim to address the affordable housing crisis by utilizing various resources and expanding the range of housing-related activities that can be funded through the CDBG program.
Vaimberg, Ron. “Weekly Newsletter – January 6, 2023.” Ron Vaimberg International, Ron Vaimberg, 6 Jan. 2023, https://rvionline.thinkific.com/courses/take/rvi-weekly-newsletter/texts/41523497-weekly-newsletter-january-6-2023.