REX Sues State of Oregon for Denying Homebuyers Substantial Savings on Real Estate Fees
REX’s lawsuit follows in the footsteps of the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust case against the National Association of Realtors for anti-competitive, “cartel-like” behavior
|Dec 1, 2020|
(AUSTIN, TEXAS, Tuesday, December 1, 2020) — REX, the technology company positioned as the full service, much lower-cost alternative to traditional real estate, today announced it has filed a lawsuit against the State of Oregon for antitrust practices. REX’s lawsuit alleges the state’s nefarious policy banning homebuyers from receiving discounted real estate fees harms consumers and stifles competition. REX demands an immediate end to the unfair policy sabotaging Oregon homebuyers.
REX seeks to create dramatically better outcomes and experiences for home buyers and sellers, and has worked to reform traditional real estate by highlighting the industry’s anti-competitive and predatory practices. As a result of these efforts, on November 19, the U.S. Department of Justice filed an antitrust case against, and proposed settlement with, the National Association of Realtors (“NAR”). REX’s lawsuit against the State of Oregon is yet another step in its mission to benefit real estate consumers by shedding light on the real estate industry’s anti-competitive practices.
“REX is leading transformational reform in the U.S. real estate industry and is committed to returning real estate fees to our customers,” said Jack Ryan, REX’s CEO and co-founder. ”Through scalable technology and an honest approach to every consumer, our team is delivering tens of thousands of dollars in savings to consumers whom traditional real estate brokers have exploited with hidden fees and predatory practices. Oregon’s rebate ban is an affront to middle- and lower-income families struggling to pull together a down payment. As a result of the NAR’s cartel-like behavior and policies like Oregon’s prohibition on discounts, consumers lose $60 billion in incremental fees every single year. Our lawsuit against Oregon is a major step toward putting real estate consumers first.”
Following REX’s 2019 launch in Oregon, one of the 17 states in which the company is active, REX received a letter from the Oregon Real Estate Agency targeting REX’s Buyer Rebate Program (BRP), which reduces the cost of home buying by thousands of dollars by refunding half of the commission. Traditional real estate brokers claim this fee entirely for themselves even though the vast majority of consumers now find their homes themselves through online searching and research.
In Oregon, the real estate fees collected by buyer agents are substantial. A 1.5% rebate for buyers—which REX legally delivers to buyers outside of Oregon—would save Oregon homebuyers $385 million in fees each year. If the state’s policy were ended, REX would be able to deliver $5,400 in savings to the typical Oregon homebuyer. According to REX’s experts, 7,700 more households in Oregon could purchase homes if real estate fees dropped by 1.5%—the level of savings that REX provides and that Oregon state policy prohibits.
While Oregonians face intense issues with housing affordability, Oregon’s rebate ban mandates higher costs of homeownership. Amid a widespread housing shortage that had already reached its worst level in a decade before COVID-19 struck, the state’s rebate prevents homebuyers from getting a better deal from their agents. Sadly, traditional realtors such as Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams, Compass, Redfin, RE/MAX, Century 21 and all the others have only been too happy to keep their artificially high fees. REX’s lawsuit demands Oregon take the common sense approach of repealing the state’s brazenly anti-consumer rebate policies.
The biggest players in the real estate industry, those who have held power for decades—the National Association of Realtors (NAR), its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) system, and the other state and local bodies which act in their interest, like Oregon’s Real Estate Agency—face multiple battles against their cartel policies. On November 19, the Department of Justice (DOJ) sued the NAR for its anti-competitive practices. Two cases brought by home sellers in Illinois and Missouri district courts allege artificially inflated commission fees—which Oregon’s statute prevents REX from cutting—incur unfair costs on homesellers. Both cases have denied the NAR’s motions for dismissal, received DOJ support, and will proceed to trial stages.
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