NAR President Traci Casper Addresses Housing Market Challenges and Commission Lawsuits in CNBC Interview

Traci Casper, NAR President

In a recent interview with CNBC, Traci Casper, the President of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), shared her views on the current state of the housing market and the implications of recent commission lawsuits. Her remarks provide an insight into the challenges and changes shaping the real estate industry, particularly relevant for the St. Louis market.

Casper highlighted the impact of fluctuating mortgage rates on the housing market, mentioning, “We do have still such a pent-up buyer pool that’s just been waiting on the sidelines… we are starting to feel them come back in.” This observation reflects the interconnectedness of mortgage rates and buyer activity, a significant factor in real estate market dynamics.

Regarding the commission lawsuits, Casper spoke about the potential effects on buyers and sellers. She explained, “Our buyers are already struggling to come up with a down payment… We don’t want to see is the marginalization of those buyers.” This statement is in line with the NAR’s consistent message suggesting that lower-income buyers might be negatively impacted if sellers stop paying buyer agent commissions. I counter Casper’s position, highlighting the disagreement within the industry. Many argue that buyers are indirectly paying the commission since it is generally factored into the home’s selling price. If the payment structure shifts to where buyers directly pay the commission, this could lead to a decrease in the seller’s price, as they would no longer bear this cost. This change might not increase the overall cost to the buyer, but it could affect sellers’ pricing strategies. Additionally, I believe that lenders will adapt to these changes. Institutions like Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, and VA are likely to revise their policies to allow commissions paid by buyers to be included in closing costs, counted as part of the down payment, or financed.

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