Politics

What Does the Real Estate Shake-up Mean for New Yorkers?

Last week, the National Association of Realtors settled a series of lawsuits brought by home sellers, agreeing to pay $418 million in damages and eliminate its longstanding rules on broker commissions. The deal, which still needs a federal court’s approval, would eliminate the standard 6 percent commission on home sales and pave the way for a system in which sellers no longer pay the entire commission.

Myriad questions remain — not least, how the settlement will impact U.S. home prices, how sales commissions will be determined, and who will pay them.

But in New York City, where the primary real estate trade group is the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), most agents aren’t members of N.A.R. and thus aren’t subject to the group’s amended rules.

While the N.A.R. settlement may not directly affect New York City buyers and sellers, its impact is expected to ripple across the nation. Earlier this year, REBNY rolled out new rules on how it will govern agent commissions on home sales. But it’s far from clear — even to REBNY affiliates — how the developments will alter the industry. In an email statement on Monday, REBNY officials told members that the N.A.R. settlement “may impact the New York City market,” and that they would be reviewing the N.A.R. settlement “and will provide an analysis to REBNY members shortly.”

How is REBNY different from N.A.R.?

REBNY was founded in 1986 and seceded from N.A.R. in the 1990s. The organization, which oversees licensing requirements and sets rules and regulations in New York City real estate, represents more than 15,000 local real estate professionals and more than 800 different brokerages. REBNY also operates the Residential Listing Service (RLS), which gives members access to exclusive listings.

But this doesn’t mean REBNY and its members won’t be impacted by the N.A.R. ruling. “Everyone is going to be affected by the ruling because they’re going to be worried about being sued in the same way,” said Sonia Gilbukh, an assistant professor of real estate at CUNY Baruch College, Zicklin School of Business.

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