Industry News

Real estate and antitrust: not a pretty picture

Future-Proof: Navigate Threats, Seize Opportunities at ICNY 2018 | Jan 22-26 at the Marriott Marquis, Times Square, New York

Editor's note: In this three-part series we examine the real estate record on antitrust. Since realty professionals 24 years ago became subject to federal antitrust law, dozens of lawsuits and regulatory actions have been taken. Learn what some of those cases are, who's behind them and how the industry has reacted. (See Part 2: David Barry takes on real estate antitrust and Part 3: NAR perspective on antitrust.) For 90 years, real estate was spared from federal antitrust laws. The Sherman Act, which prohibits any combination, contract or conspiracy in restraint of trade, became law in 1890. But in 1980, the Supreme Court case of McLain vs. Real Estate Bd. of New Orleans changed all that when the High Court decided real estate professionals were not above the nation's antitrust law. The case argued that real estate brokers in the Greater New Orleans area had engaged in a price-fixing conspiracy in violation of 1 of the Sherman Act. The case was dismissed in a lower court because s...