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Antitrust officials: Proposed law forces higher real estate costs

Michigan trade group says opposition is based on 'misunderstanding'

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Federal antitrust officials are opposing real estate legislation, proposed in Michigan, that they contend would leave fewer options for real estate services and would likely decrease competition among real estate professionals and cause consumers "to pay thousands of dollars more in commissions to real estate brokers." U.S. Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission officials, in an Oct. 18 letter to a Michigan state senator and the director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth, urge the Legislature to reject the law proposal, which is backed by the Michigan Association of Realtors. The letter is signed by Deborah Platt Majoras, chairman of the Federal Trade Commission, and Thomas O. Barnett, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Antitrust Division. The proposed legislation, House Bill 4849 and its companion HB 4850, require that real estate brokers who enter into exclusive agreements with consumers to perform a minimum level of servic...