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Those Poor Realtors

If I were a Realtor, I might feel right about now that the entire free world has turned against me, having decided I’m a sharp-elbowed, greed-driven hustler trying to preserve an advantage that I don’t deserve. And I’d probably be right. In today’s New York Times is yet another chronicle of how the National Association of Realtors has used its muscle to keep all kinds of competitors, including banks, from taking a dip in its 6% commission pool. The U.S. Justice Dept. has already sued the N.A.R.; now comes word that the Consumer Federation of America is coming after the N.A.R. Here’s the money quote, from the C.F.A.’s executive director, Stephen Brobeck: “Because the industry functions as a cartel, it is able to overcharge consumers tens of billions of dollars a year. Consumers are increasingly wondering why they are often charged more to sell a home than to purchase a new car.”