This week we are watching developments in two lawsuits with the potential to shift the industry significantly, as well as other disruptions, both positive and concerning.
The National Association of REALTORS® and Realogy both say they will appeal a judge’s ruling this week that granted class certification in one of two federal commissions lawsuits that could impact how agents are compensated nationwide. The lawsuits seek to have homebuyers pay their broker directly.
The judge’s ruling in a Missouri lawsuit also would allow home sellers to seek reimbursement for the buyer’s agent commission in connection with the sale of residential real estate listed on one of four Missouri MLS’s. The plaintiffs claim sharing commissions between listing and buyer brokers violates the Sherman Antitrust Act by inflating seller costs. NAR stands by policy that supports “Pro-competitive, pro-consumer” local broker marketplaces.
In a second development, a federal appeals court reversed a lower court ruling that threw out an antitrust lawsuit related to NAR’s pocket listing policy.
NAR spokesman Mantill Williams said “we look forward to the next stage of this case, in which we will show the [Clear Cooperation Policy] is pro-competitive and pro-consumer and consistent with all laws and regulations.”
In industry trends, new home construction continues to buoy the housing market. The U.S.’s largest homebuilder, D.R. Horton, raised its full-year revenue outlook again, citing strong demand despite rising mortgage interest rates. D.R. Horton has numerous projects in the Tampa area and other surrounding communities.
Cryptocurrency continues to make headway in home buying and selling. Tampa recently had its second crypto home sale and we reported on the development of crypto mortgages a few weeks ago. At Inman Connect this week, discussion surrounded the effects of blockchain, which can bypass intermediaries, including using agents. Panelists were optimistic for brokerages and agents who embrace the technology and provide that expertise to clients. They also noted opportunities for listings.
Rather than being reliant on giant listing portals like Zillow or Realtor.com, they would be reliant instead on distributed blockchain ledgers, controlled by no one, Allan Dalton, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, said.
Finally, in other news, we are seeing the combined impact of both the end of the pandemic and a tightening economy on homeowner behavior as appliances and mattress sales decline. The home improvement trend is slowing as inflation is rising. While the housing marketing remains hot, waning consumer confidence may have an impact, especially as buyers face higher mortgage rates.
Redfin Corp. reports that homebuyers using a mortgage in the Sun Belt need 40% more income than a year ago. Tampa saw the biggest annual increase — 47.8% — of any metro area analyzed by Redfin. Buyers here need to earn $67,353 annually to afford the metro area’s typical monthly mortgage payment of $1,684.