GATEWAY PERSPECTIVES: The Big Picture
Richard Haggerty | February 2018
For many years now we’ve been hearing a lot of buzz in the Realtor Association and MLS world about consolidation. We’ve certainly been in the lead on this issue in the lower Hudson Valley, with the Westchester County Board merging with the Putnam County Association in 2009, and the Westchester-Putnam merger with the Orange County Association and the Rockland County Board in 2012 to create our current Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. The two subsidiary MLS’s then merged in 2013 to create the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. Our most recent merger was with the Manhattan Association of Realtors, which occurred at the very end of 2016.
The end result of these mergers is that HGAR covers an extraordinarily diverse geography, from the towering skyscrapers of lower Manhattan to the black dirt farms of Orange County. In serving such a diverse geography, HGAR must and will continue to develop and offer advocacy, services and benefits that help all of our members thrive.
When considering potential growth and expansion for any organization, it’s important to always be aware of opportunities and be willing to engage in discussions, so long as those opportunities and discussions advance the interests of the membership. Such an opportunity was explored last year when the leadership of HGAR and the Long Island Board of Realtors, Inc. (LIBOR), along with their respective multiple listing service leadership, met to discuss the possibility of forming a regional MLS to serve the New York metro area. The group agreed to explore a structure that would achieve several key goals prompted by evolving broker expectations mandating that MLS’ change their strategies to satisfy member needs for more accurate and robust data across a larger geographic area.
Last week HGAR and HGMLS announced that they had executed a formal memoandum of understanding (MOU) with the Long Island Board of Realtors, Inc. (LIBOR) and its subsidiary, the Multiple Listing Service of Long Island, Inc., to create a regional multiple listing service that would service the greater New York metropolitan area, stretching from the Hamptons, through all of Long Island, Manhattan, and up through the lower Hudson Valley. Bigger is not always better, but in the MLS data world bigger does make a difference, and mergers have been happening with greater frequency all across the country. I believe a regional MLS that covers the entire New York City metropolitan and greater suburban area will be an extremely effective tool for all the agents who operate in this geography.
The creation of a regional MLS would not involve the merger of the parent Associations. HGAR and LIBOR would continue to operate as separate entities, each with an ownership position in the regional MLS. The MOU is not a final agreement, and much work remains to be done to convert the concept of a regional MLS into a reality. However, with the strong leadership from both HGAR and LIBOR, leaders who are focused on the big picture of advancing the interests of their members and the clients and customers they serve, I believe we are well down the road in making the concept a reality, and we will keep you posted as the process continues.