Newsletter April 2, 2024

Accurate Update: Washington State & the Proposed NAR Settlement

As I am sure you have heard on the news, there is a proposed settlement agreement for the NAR (National Association of Realtors) Class Action Lawsuit. It has certainly stirred up plenty of headlines that have been glossy, and in many cases, inaccurate. Many of the reports and headlines have been national and it is important to note that WA state is unique and could have far fewer changes than the rest of the country if the settlement is approved.

The majority of the MLSs (Multiple Listing Services) across the country are owned by NAR and our NWMLS (Northwest Multiple Listing Service) in WA, is not. NWMLS is not included in the settlement agreement as they are not NAR-owned. If the settlement is approved, they can choose to opt in, which is undecided at this point as it will require a vote of their board of directors.

In WA, new laws were enacted on January 1, 2024 that address many aspects that the settlement agreement is proposing. For years, WA brokers and NWMLS have been committed to elevating transparency around broker compensation, resulting in brokers in WA already doing business as many of the new proposals in the settlement agreement suggest. You can refer to the newsletter I published in early February that outlines the new laws that went into place on Jan 1. I am also happy to report that practicing under these new laws has been positive and productive for consumers and brokers alike.

The proposed settlement agreement still needs to be approved by the court. Once that is done, I will report back to explain how it will affect real estate operations in WA state. In the meantime, I also want to report that market activity in Q1 2024 has been positive!

Price growth is up, buyer demand is strong, and inventory remains low. Seller equity is soaring, with home equity in King County averaging 60% and 57.5% in Snohomish County. These figures were reported in December 2023 and don’t account for the price growth we’ve seen in Q1. Interest rates are still hovering around the high 6% and are predicted to come down this year, yet remain volatile and stubborn. Please reach out if you or someone you know would like to learn more. It is always my goal to help keep my clients informed and empower strong decisions.