OneKey MLS Leaders Tout Merits of New NYC Regional MLS
John Jordan | February 2020
NEW YORK—With the official launch of the OneKey MLS set for early spring, OneKey MLS executives took to the airwaves on Feb. 4 to promote the merits of the groundbreaking new regional multiple listing service that currently boasts more than 42,000 subscribers across the New York metropolitan area.
Richard Haggerty, president and chief strategic growth officer of OneKey MLS, and Leah Caro, chairperson of the Board of Managers OneKey MLS, were guests on the Good Morning New York, Real Estate radio show hosted by Vince Rocco, an associate broker with Halstead Real Estate. Haggerty, who is also chief executive officer of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, and Caro, who is president and principal broker of Park Sterling Realty of Bronxville, discussed on the radio broadcast on the Voice of America Variety broadcast channel the pressing need for accurate real estate data in New York City and how OneKey MLS will help fill that data void for participating real estate agents and brokerage firms.
Also joining the show at Smash Studios in New York City were Elise Ehrlich, Halstead; Jordan Shea, Douglas Elliman; and Phil Horigan of frele/Leasebreak.com.
Rocco noted that at present there is much confusion on the issue of accurate data in New York City, particularly because there is no operating multiple listing service serving Manhattan. He told listeners that he is personally tired of dealing with disparate systems that do not communicate with one another, as well as paying $6 a day for a rental listing on the StreetEasy.com service.
Haggerty provided an update on OneKey MLS’s launch and noted that the new service is an entity that is the result of a joint venture between the the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and the Long Island Board of Realtors. LIBOR’s Jim Speer serves as the CEO of OneKey MLS.
Haggerty related that he understands that the changes required to enter information for new listings for participating New York City brokerages and agents with OneKey MLS could be “intimidating,” but noted that the challenge the industry faces is that firms such as Street Easy and Zillow have stepped into the data void and have taken advantage of the lack of an operating MLS in New York City and have become the “de-facto” MLS in New York City.
The Real Estate Board of New York operates the syndicated Residential Listing Service, RLS, which was launched in August 2017. The RLS sends its listings to Realtor.com and other listing sites, but not the popular StreetEasy.
“The MLS concept works in every other single part of the country,” Haggerty stressed. “It works in every single city in the country.” He noted that major New York City residential brokerage firms all participate in operating multiple listing services for their listings in Westchester and the Hudson Valley, in Connecticut as well as on Long Island and the Hamptons.
“So, if it works out there (in the suburbs), I think it will work in New York City and that is why we are making this push,” Haggerty explained.
Caro and Haggerty said there is a reticence by some major brokerage firms to join OneKey MLS due to politics as well as a fear of change and losing market share.
He noted that some firms have thrived under the current system and are fearful that they will “lose their edge” operating under a fully-functioning MLS.
OneKey’s Caro maintained that some firms have already lost their edge. “That ship has sailed,” said Caro, a former president of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and its MLS. “They are losing their edge already because they are a slave to Street Easy.”
She noted that New York City brokerage firms and agents are giving away their data and then buying that data back, “which makes no economic sense long-term,” Caro noted.
While some New York City firms have joined OneKey MLS, others with “narrow vision” have acquiesced and put their data on services such as Street Easy in the hopes of keeping consumers from leaving their firm’s website, she maintained.
“The eyeballs have already left their sites,” Caro said. “The eyeballs are (currently) on Street Easy and they have to either play ball or change.” She said that OneKey MLS has felt some push-back from some major New York City brokerages even though she shared that OneKey MLS will bring the latest technology and most accurate data “on a platter” for use by agents as well as consumers.
Rocco complained that due to the many difference sources of data, the information on New York’s City market and listings differ from one firm to another and he wondered why brokerages would not embrace a concept that would bring uniformity to the real estate data that industry professionals and consumers require?
Haggerty offered some pointed comments on REBNY’s RLS system and other New York City real estate data sources. He charged that REBNY has had a significant amount of time to fix the issue of providing accurate data and the latest technology services to the industry and “they have not done so. Again, they have helped create this problem.”
He continued, “We get some data feeds from RLS and they are the pits and that is being very polite. The data is crappy and we have to go through a lot of hoops to fix the data. That is something that should not happen. That should be fixed at the ground level when you enter the information into whatever vehicle you are using. And they don’t police it.”
Haggerty and Caro’s radio appearance followed complaints about the “sales data black hole” lodged by Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty’s Joe Rand at the Inman Connect New York Conference.
Rand, who is a managing partner with BH&G Rand Realty, said that while some issues have improved in New York City, particularly brokerages starting to share active listing data and the introduction of RLS, the issue of accurate data continues to plague the industry there.
“How do you do market analysis when the biggest companies can’t agree whether sales are up or down?” Rand said in an Inman report on the conference. Rand, while sharing a graph that showed conflicting sales reports from Corcoran, Douglas Elliman and Compass, added, “It’s a matter of—on a micro-level of an agent—if you’re not dealing with a common set of sole data, and you’re trying to do a CMA, how do you know whether you’ve got all the data, How do you know whether you’ve got every sale in that local area that might be meaningful for that seller, when you don’t have an agreement on what data is in the system?”