25 Nov 2017

Commerce Commission to appeal in real estate price fixing case

3:33 pm on 25 November 2017

The Commerce Commission is to appeal a High Court decision dismissing the Commission's case against two Hamilton real estate agencies and their directors for price fixing.

Court of Appeal in Wellington.

Photo: RNZ

Last month, the court threw out the case against Lodge Real Estate and its director Jeremy O'Rourke and Monarch Real estate, trading as Harcourts Hamilton and its director Brian King.

The Commission claimed they were part of an anti-competitive price fixing agreement with other Hamilton real estate agencies in relation to Trade Me changing its property listing fee.

Its chair, Dr Mark Berry, said the High Court judgment raised significant legal issues that merited an appeal.

The appeal will be filed in the Court of Appeal in Wellington.

Earlier this year three other Hamilton real estate companies were ordered to pay a total of nearly $3 million for price-fixing in relation to Trade Me.

In 2015, the Commission filed proceedings in the High Court for alleged price fixing and anti-competitive behaviour by 13 national and regional real estate agencies, a company owned by a number of national real estate agencies, and three individuals.

The Commission also issued warnings to an additional eight agencies.

The Head offices of real estate companies, Barfoot & Thompson, Harcourts, LJ Hooker and Ray White were ordered to collectively pay $9.8m and Bayleys had to pay just over $2m.