(Credit: Desiree Mathurin)
In America’s biggest metropolis, it’s easy to forget that the boroughs themselves are some of the largest cities in the country. Queens, the second most populous borough after Brooklyn, is itself the fourth largest city in the United States and one of nation’s busiest real estate markets. But if you thought the residential brokerages were mostly just cross-river subsidiaries of Manhattan’s biggest firms, you have another thing coming: the list of the top 10 brokerages in Queens is as diverse as the borough itself.
According to The Real Deal‘s analysis of Department of State broker records conducted last month, Winzone Realty, with 639 brokers or salespersons registered in Queens, is the borough’s largest residential brand. Here’s a fun fact: If its agents were registered and located in Manhattan, Winzone would be the fifth-largest firm there, in the same category as Halstead Property or Citi Habitats.
The Chinese-owned, Elmhurst-based Winzone maintains a broker roster that’s majority — though not exclusively — Chinese in heritage. And it’s well-connected to the greater Chinese real estate community that has Flushing as a core nexus. Shang Dai, principal of Hudson Rise co-developer Kuafu Development, has served as Winzone’s in-house counsel, according to his law firm, Dai & Associates.
While the Winzone brand and agents pertain to one company, many of the largest brokerages in Queens are franchises that rent a well-known national brand for their own local operation.
Ontario-based Exit Realty, a franchise that lends its name to hundreds of offices in the U.S. and Canada, is the second largest brand by registered agents in Queens, with 626 agents registered to brokerage shops bearing the Exit Realty stamp. Other franchises also find their way into the top brand list. The 359 registered Century 21 Real Estate agents mostly come from two independently owned and operated franchises that simply carry the same name––Century 21 Milestone and the somewhat awkward-sounding Century 21 Best.
Other Queens-based firms to make the list include Bayside-based East Coast realtors (206 agents), but the rest are Flushing-heavy, like Chous Realty (188 agents), K Land Realty (117 agents) and Best Group Realty (91 agents).
New York City’s largest residential brokerage firm, Douglas Elliman, also has enough agents registered in Queens to appear in the list, too, with 207 licensed brokers or salespersons (the firm’s HQ is located in Manhattan). Keller Williams NYC, also headquartered in Manhattan, accounted for many of the 508 agents from Keller Williams branded companies, which include the Bayside-based franchise Keller Williams Landmark as well as Keller Williams Realty Group.
Derek Smith contributed research to this report.