The Real Deal New York

Citi Habitats launches new listings database

System, developed in conjunction with Corcoran, part of firm's rebranding
By E.B. Solomont | July 09, 2014 05:45PM

Two years into Citi Habitats’ rebranding effort, the brokerage is launching a new listings database in conjunction with the Corcoran Group.

Citi Habitats and Corcoran, subsidiaries of publicly-traded Realogy, launched the first phase of the new listings system for its agents on July 7, Citi Habitats President Gary Malin told The Real Deal.

The shared database was a year in the making, he said, and will provide a leap forward in technology in a city that lacks a centralized MLS system. Accessible via computer or mobile device, the database has features like auto-populated fields and forms tailored to the type of listing an agent pulls up.

Malin said the listings system is part of Citi Habitats’ broader effort to reimagine itself. It is being rolled out in conjunction with a new website, set to launch later this year, as well as an overhaul of the brokerage’s offices.

Citi Habitats currently has seven offices, down from 14 after Citi Habitats consolidated and renovated its offices over the past few years. Moving away from expensive retail spaces, the firm took larger offices on higher floors. The renovated offices have more breakout space, as well as conference rooms and phone booths for private calls.

Last week, Citi Habitats opened a new Greenwich Village office at 665 Broadway to replace its office at 37 Third Avenue at 10th Street, near Astor Place. And last year, the brokerage replaced two Upper West Side offices, at 222 West 72nd Street and 465 Columbus Avenue respectively, with a larger office at 157 Columbus Avenue. In the past 18 months, Citi Habitats has also shuttered its Gramercy-area offices and renovated its headquarters at 250 Park Avenue South.

“Retail rents weren’t that expensive, compared with what they are now,” Malin said. “You realize that isn’t necessary once you’re branded (and) people know who you are.”

In the past few years, Citi Habitats has weathered corporate belt tightening by Realogy, which went through a much-hyped IPO in 2012. In 2013, Realogy reported $5.3 billion in revenue, up 13 percent from $4.7 billion in 2012.

Last year, the firm saw the departure of top executives including including Gordon Golub, who joined tech start-up Urban Compass, along with agents Steve Halpern and Udi Eliasi. Previously, Clifford Finn, the former head of new development marketing, who left for Douglas Elliman.

Overall, the brokerage has 669 agents, down from 816 in 2008 but more than the 630 it had last year.

Late last year, the firm also tapped Jodi Ann Stasse, founder and former president of Stasse & Co., to relaunch its new development marketing efforts. The company said it had signed more than 3,000 units, including JDS’ 626 First Avenue.