Austin Real Estate Firm Files Antitrust Suit Against Zillow

A battery of former aides to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is behind an antitrust lawsuit against Zillow, reported Axios.

Zillow is the go-to site for home listing searches, but Austin-based REX, a tech-based real estate broker, alleges Zillow unfairly marginalized its listings, harming its business, homebuyers, and sellers.

REX’s listings, along with others that don’t list with a realtor — such as sale by owner — are now found on an obscure “other listings” tab on the Zillow website, rather than the default tab.

Zillow officials say they are complying with National Association of Realtors rules that call for the separation of agent-listed homes from those not represented by agents. The NAR is also a defendant in the REX lawsuit.

The dispute stems from Zillow’s recent move to go beyond listing homes for sale and create a brokerage to hire agents itself. The company announced last fall it would employ agents for its house-flipping service Zillow Offers in several states and would join the National Association of Realtors.

As part of that move, Zillow changed the way it collects listings of houses for sale. Zillow now gathers listings directly from multiple listing services, the databases of listings provided by real-estate brokers. (The Northwest Multiple Listing Service, for example, catalogues listings across more than two dozen counties in Washington.)

Along with that came the change that hit Rex: Zillow now categorizes listings under two tabs when people search for homes for sale: “agent listings” (where homes listed on multiple listing services show up) and “other listings.” To enforce National Association of Realtors rules, certain multiple listing services require that separation, according to the complaint.

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