Lawsuit: Realtor, developer conspired to inflate home prices

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A lawsuit filed in Seattle contends that a local developer and prominent real estate agency conspired to prey on Chinese nationals and inflate luxury home prices.

The Seattle Times reported Thursday that two plaintiffs who bought adjacent newly built homes in Kirkland allege that their broker at Realogics Sotheby’s International Realty was actually working on behalf of the builder selling the homes.

Jie “Gabby” Jiao and couple Maoqi Zhang and Wei Fan hired Realogics Sotheby’s broker Connie Blumenthal to buy their first homes in the United States in spring 2015.

The suit says the buyers were told multiple offers had been made for the houses and were told to bid over $2 million each. The lawsuit claims Jiao was so dissatisfied with the home’s condition that she sold it for a loss. The other buyer’s home is assessed at about $745,000 less than they paid.

Realogics and Blumenthal call the claims “baseless.”


Information from: The Seattle Times,