Good things are happening! A landmark settlement could transform the real estate market, and immigrants in many states may soon find a warmer welcome in new policies. Also, environmental regulators are taking measures to fight cancer, and more states are amping up gun control efforts despite legal challenges.

Breaking Up The Real Estate Cartel

Home sales could soon become more affordable for both sellers and buyers, shaking up the real estate business model of charging a fixed percentage of commissions with little room for negotiation. A new landmark settlement by a real estate trade group will eliminate the sales commissions home sellers have to pay real estate agents and that are usually factored into the cost of a house.

Commission fees can be very costly. Americans pay around $100 billion in real estate commissions annually, and most agents require a commission of five or six percent for the seller, which is higher than most other countries. Even for a home sold at the median cost of $400,000, commission fees can still amount to $24,000. By making it harder for first-time home buyers to afford property, these commissions are contributing to the housing crisis playing out across the nation.