JUSTICE DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a proposed settlement with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) that requires NAR to allow Internet-based residential real estate brokers to compete with traditional brokers. The Department said the settlement will enhance competition in the real estate brokerage industry, resulting in more choice, better service, and lower commission rates for consumers. NAR has agreed to be bound by a 10-year settlement to ensure that it continues to abide by the requirements of the agreement.

In September 2005, the Department’s Antitrust Division filed a civil antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Chicago, against NAR challenging policies and related rules that obstructed real estate brokers who use innovative Internet-based tools to offer better services and lower costs to consumers. The Department said that the policies prevented consumers from receiving the full benefits of competition, discouraged discounting, and threatened to lock in outmoded business models. The case was scheduled to go to trial in July 2008 before Judge Matthew F. Kennelly.

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