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Judge rules for Zillow

REX filed a lawsuit against the National Association of Realtors and Zillow in March. REX alleged them of antitrust conspiracy. However, on Wednesday, a judge dismissed the allegations and refused to stop how Zillow right now lists properties.

Zillow is an America-based online real estate marketplace company. It was established in 2006. The company is headquartered in Seattle, Washington. Currently, Barton is appointed as its CEO. Listed on NASDAQ, its shares increased 18% in 2020. As per 2019 data, the company's total assets were $6.1 billion, and it earned a net income of worth $305.4 million.

Last year, the company shifted its stance from syndicate agreements with different parties to gaining IDX feeds or internet data from Multiple Listing Services controlled by the NAR.

Zillow had to agree with a large number of MLSs. These work according to NAR’s “no commingling” rule in which Zillow was told to segregate the listings of MLS agents and the ones not forming a part of MLS. Homes listed for selling by REX agents were also included in it.

REX labeled it as “the segregation rule.” It feels the segregation gives an impression to consumers that REX’s listings are not presented by licensed agents, and the listings it provides are not up to the mark.

However, the Seattle judge favored Zillow. He explained the website had designed the website listings in a consumer-friendly way. He further said that the website took the help of pop-ups and FAQ pages to differentiate between the concerned tabs.

Zillow gave an official declaration on Wednesday that the company is happy with the judgment and the judge noted our strategy to work for our consumers dedicatedly.

According to the ruling, REX is complaining about the business practices of Zillow, which adversely affects brokerage. But REX is not satisfied with the verdict, and its CEO, Jack Ryan, announced on Thursday that the case is far from over. It made such an announcement because it could still make monetary claims against Zillow and NAR. Ryan expressed his disappointment with the NAR segregation rule. That is because this rule prevents consumers from saving thousands of dollars. REX would not accept it until it frees the consumers from this rule.

REX doesn’t like the term “discount brokerage.” The term simply means it offers real estate agents a meager amount of commission as it transfers these savings to consumers, while the company’s real estate agents work on a salary basis.

This lawsuit shouldn’t be regarded as one of the many lawsuits filed against NAR. The earlier lawsuits were about the commissions which consumers have to pay to real estate agents.

According to some legal observers, these lawsuits have the power to turn the home real industry upside down as the largest brokerages, and the NAR will be charged with “horizontal conspiracy” in these cases to set prices because home sellers pay almost 5% of the sale price to agents.

No ruling is made in any of these lawsuits except when a Chicago federal judge refused to entertain NAR’s motion. The motion was a request to dismiss a lawsuit.