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May 27, 2008

A smorgasbord of news

In the good news/bad news department: The federal government said today that new-home sales increased in April, the first upward movement in six months -- but only because March was worse than it originally thought.

As the Associated Press notes:

The Commerce report on new home sales showed the April rebound was led by a huge 41.7 percent surge in sales in the Northeast. Sales were up 8.3 percent in the West and 5.8 percent in the Midwest. The only region which saw a decline in sales in April was the South, where sales fell by 2.4 percent.

Maryland, according to the Commerce Department, is in the South, in case you were wondering.

Also today, the federal government and National Association of Realtors settled an antitrust suit "that accused the trade group of trying to restrain competition," Bloomberg reports. No longer will NAR-affiliated multiple-listing services be able to keep online real estate brokers from fully accessing the listing information:

The government said the practice propped up an old-fashioned business model and harmed consumers who can save up to 1 percent of the price of a home by using a Web-based broker.

The National Association of Realtors says in a press release (headlined "Realtors Compete, Consumers Win") that the order "expressly provides that NAR does not admit any liability or wrongdoing and NAR will make no payments in connection with the settlement." 

Interested in the Justice Department press release? Read it HERE.

Posted by Jamie Smith Hopkins at 5:29 PM | | Comments (0)
        

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About Jamie Smith Hopkins
Jamie Smith Hopkins, a Baltimore Sun reporter since 1999, writes about the regional economy. Her reporting on the housing market has won national and local awards. Hopkins is a Columbia native and has lived in Maryland all her life, save for 10 months spent covering schools in Ames, Iowa.
She trained to become a wonk by spending large chunks of time as a geek and an insufferable know-it-all.
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