It's a safe bet that 2005 will be one of the most memorable – if not unforgettable – years on record for the leaders of the National Association of Realtors. Most notably, it is the year that the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust lawsuit against the 1.2 million-member trade group, charging that the group's policies for the display and sharing of online property listings are too restrictive. But that is just one among a series of federal actions this year relating to potential antitrust violations within the real estate industry. The Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Justice Department, U.S. Government Accountability Office and some state attorney general's offices are among the agencies that are taking a hard look at industry practices. And in several cases, they didn't like what they saw. Many of the government actions and opinions this year have focused on industry-backed restrictions on real estate rebates, discount and limited-service real estate service offe...
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