Independent brokerages gain ground in the Bronx

Top 20 Bronx brokerages ranked by agent count
By Derek Smith | June 01, 2016 07:00AM

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Regional and national powerhouses continue to hold dominion in the growing Bronx real estate market, but independent brokerages are gaining ground. That’s according to The Real Deal‘s latest ranking of the borough’s real estate firms by the number of licensed agents and brokers.

Compare that to 2010, when all 10 of the Bronx’s biggest firms were affiliated with national and regional brands. As of March 14, 2016, however, three out of the top 10 are independent brokerages headquartered in the borough. Besmatch Real Estate, for example, had 80 agents at the time of TRD‘s count, placing third, while NY Future Homes Realty, with 74 agents, placed fourth. Neither firm has a presence in Manhattan.

Top 20 Bronx Brokerages Ranked by Agent Count
As of March 14th 2016
Exit Realty (2 Firms)130
Keller Williams Realty NYC119
Besmatch Real Estate*80
NY Future Homes Realty*74
Halstead Property36
Douglas Elliman Real Estate36
Re/Max (3 Firms)32
Charles Rutenberg Realty32
Pantiga Group28
Exclusive Properties Sotheby's International Realty27
Century 21 Metro Star23
Coldwell Banker Signature Properties23
Weichert Realtors21
New Empire Real Estate Group*18
Elite Real Estate Group*15
Rapid Realty (2 Firms)15
Carrington Real Estate Services13
Progress Realty*13
McKoy Realty*12
Today Realty*12
Source: Department of State Licensed Broker and Salesperson data
*Indepedent brokerages

Both Besmatch and NY Future Homes were previously affiliated with global brands. Besmatch was founded under the Century 21 umbrella in 1987 but moved to the ERA Real Estate system in 1992 before going independent.

“I don’t believe the advantage of being a part of a franchise is equal to the cost,” said Haniff Baksh, president of Besmatch.

Franchises such as Exit Realty and Keller Williams continue to top the rankings, however, with large New York-based firms such as Halstead Property and Douglas Elliman also featured prominently.

Indepedent brokerage Pantiga Group came in ninth, with 28 licensed agents, beating out national chains like Sotheby’s International Realty, Century 21 and Coldwell Banker. Despite just having one Bronx office, Pantiga is only three agents short of RE/MAX, a national powerhouse with three Bronx locations.

“In the future, I see the franchises getting passed by smaller firms,” said Manuel Pantiga, a principal at the firm.

The Bronx’s real estate market has attracted major investment from New York developers in the last few years, as TRD reported in its November issue. The activity has sparked growth in the brokerage sector — the number of brokers and salespeople in the borough now tops 2,200, and that number is likely to swell as the Bronx’s relative affordability and good transit brings in buyers and renters.

TRD analyzed New York State Department of State records for licensed real estate brokers and salespersons in the five boroughs, as of March 14.

The Bronx’s total agent count is still a far cry from Brooklyn, which has 10,212 licensed agents, and Queens, which has 11,548 agents. That’s a ratio that isn’t in line with the number of housing units in the borough. The Bronx has about 1.4 million homes, according to the most recent New York City Housing and Vacancy Survey, compared with 2.6 million in Brooklyn, and 2.3 million in Queens.