Housing is a major indicator of the growing wealth gap in the U.S. Vigorous antitrust enforcement and competition policy play major roles in ensuring a more equitable distribution of wealth by promoting the entry of innovative market players and the welfare of consumers. However, the complex interplay of natural market forces, antitrust enforcement, housing policy developments, and structural issues in the brokerage industry all shape competition in real estate. These forces are evident in a number of pressing issues and questions. For example, why can’t Millennials and Gen-Zs afford to buy homes in meaningful numbers? What accounts for the recent rise in the share of Americans renting, rather than buying, single family homes? What are the implications of changes in the consumer experience around home buying and selling, and the norms and practices around residential real estate more generally? And what do the rise of I-buyers and home-sharing platforms say about the future of competition? This AAI Competition Roundtable will answer these, and other questions. The event features an opening address and two panels of industry, economic, legal, and policy experts to discuss key competition issues in real estate.
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Introduction and Overview
Diana Moss, President, American Antitrust Institute
State of the Industry Remarks
Jack Ryan, Chief Executive Officer, REX
Panel 1 - The American Dream Revisited: Trends and Challenges in Residential Real Estate
Panel 1 will set the table for a robust discussion of major developments and headwinds that affect competition in residential real estate markets. Industry experts will address the evolution and direction of business models, market developments, the role of technology, and housing policy. For example, what are the biggest challenges for aspiring homebuyers, in what ways are the lines between ownership and renting beginning to blur, and how do both relate to affordability? How have real estate transactions changed over time, including U.S. versus international norms on commission structures? What are the prevailing business models in the industry and what role has technology and the internet played in how transactions are consummated? Panelists will synthesize their observations and analysis to suggest what policies can promote innovation and competition in real estate.
Jenny Schuetz, Senior Fellow – Metropolitan Policy Program, Future of the Middle Class Initiative, The Brookings Institution
James Dwiggins, Chief Executive Officer, NextHome, Inc.
John Hatfield, Professor, University of Texas McCombs School of Business
Joe Rand, Executive Director, Broker Public Portal
Panel 2 - Unpacking Competition Problems in Real Estate: Issues for Antitrust Enforcement and Remedies
Panel 2 will leverage the takeaways from Panel 1 to frame antitrust approaches for addressing competition issues in residential real estate. Enforcement experts will address major features that bear on market entry, concerns over market power, efficiencies arguments, and remedies. For example, what do the roles of data, data ownership, and access to data on pricing and commissions play in real estate markets? What do the new technology platforms mean for consumers and competition and what do their successes and challenges tell us about the U.S. real estate market? How should enforcement remedy violations of the antitrust laws, and to what extent would legislation be helpful, or necessary in addressing competition concerns? Panelists will synthesize their observations on antitrust enforcement to help us understand whether the current model serves the interests of competition and consumers.
Sarah Oxenham Allen, Senior Assistant Attorney General and Antitrust Unit Manager at Office of the Virginia Attorney General; Chair, NAAG Antitrust Taskforce
Melanie L. Aitken, Managing Principal, Bennett Jones (US) LLP
Scott Hemphill, Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law, New York University Law School
Discussion and Wrap-Up
Senior Assistant Attorney General and Antitrust Unit Manager
Chief Executive Officer
Moses H. Grossman Professor of Law
Chief Executive Officer
Senior Fellow - Metropolitan Policy Program, Future of the Middle Class Initiative