Monday, September 29, 2008

Realtors Group Settles U.S. Case Over Internet Policy (Update3)

The National Association of Realtors
agreed to give price reduction Internet agents entree to its lists of
home sales, resolving a U.S. antimonopoly lawsuit that accused the
trade grouping of trying to suppress competition.

The settlement, filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago,
calls for the grouping to revize a policy that allow real
estate agents except their gross sales information from Web sites. The
government said the pattern propped up an old-fashioned business
model and harmed consumers who can salvage 1 percentage of the terms of
a place by using a Web-based broker.

''Today's colony forestalls traditional agents from
deliberately impeding competition,'' said , deputy
assistant lawyer full general in the Justice Department's antitrust
division. ''When there is unchained competition from agents with
innovative and efficient attacks to the residential existent estate
market, consumers are likely to have better services and pay
lower committee rates.''

The understanding come ups as the lodging market, in the thick of a
two-year slump, have showed no marks of recovery. Today, the
Commerce Department reported that gross sales of new places in April were
the 2nd last since 1991.

U.S. gross sales of previously owned places probably will fall to
5.39 million this year, the real estate brokers association said in a May 15
forecast. That would be a driblet of 24 percentage from 2005's all-time
high of 7.08 million, making it the worst lodging recession since
the four-year slump.

On-Line Realtor Pleased

''We are reasonably happy but not completely overjoyed,''
, main executive director military officer of Redfin, a Seattle-based
on-line brokerages, said in an interview. ''It throws the gate
open to all kinds of concern models.''

Kelman said the colony will still let real estate brokers to bar
some on-line comments and terms comparings from houses such as as
Seattle-based Zillow.Com and Cyberhomes, a service of Fidelity
National Financial, Inc. of Jacksonville, Florida.

, president of the real estate brokers association, said
in a statement that the colony will allow the grouping focusing on
''re-energizing the lodging market'' during a hard period.

''Competition is alive and well in the existent estate
industry,'' he said. ''In fact, the competitory nature of our
industry is even more than evident in modern times of marketplace disturbance like
those we are currently experiencing.''

Internet Brokers

Internet brokers, who seek to cut costs by charging only for
the services a marketer wants, sprung up in the 1990s and now
operate in all major metropolitan areas.

Traditional existent estate agents for such as companies as Coldwell
Banker Residential Brokerage and Re/Max International Inc. usually
charge a committee of 5 percentage to 7 percentage of a property's sale
price, while price reduction agents complaint 2.5 percentage to 4.5 percent,
or a level fee depending on the services provided.

In 2006, consumers paid $93 billion in existent estate
commissions, the said.

In most markets, existent estate agents take part in the
Multiple List Service, which allows them share information about
properties that are for sale. By using the service, agents and
buyers can acquire lists on almost all places in the market.

About 800 of the listing services across the U.S. are
affiliated with the National Association of Realtors, which sets
policies governing their use.


Realtors usually give their clients printouts of the listings
and not full entree to the database. However, some brokerage firms that
operate online allow clients see all the Multiple List Service
information via the usage of a password.

Those sites, the Justice Department said, aid existent estate
agents be more than productive and allow them go through cost nest egg onto home
buyers with less committees or rebates. The federal agency filed its
case in 2005 and it was put to travel to trial in July.

The Chicago-based realtors group, which have more than than 1.2
million members who work in the residential and commercial real
estate industries, didn't acknowledge or deny the Justice Department's
allegations in settling the case.

The understanding sets the grouping under enhanced government
oversight for 10 years. There was no fiscal penalty. Garza,
speaking to newsmen in Washington, said the Justice Department
generally doesn't seek mulcts when it first attempts to hold anti-
competitive behavior.

''What we've done is accomplish a very permanent and important
change to the conduct'' of the real estate brokers association and its
affiliated listing services, Garza said.

With coverage by in Hub Of The Universe and Simon Peter S. Green
in New York. --Editors: . .

To reach the newsman on this story:
in American Capital at

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