Even as big regional and national firms expand into Brooklyn, the majority of brokers and agents work for companies that have little or no footprint in Manhattan. Real estate giants and mom-and-pop firms alike take spots on The Real Deal’s 2016 ranking of Brooklyn brokerages by number of licensed brokers and salespeople, based on New York Department of State data.
While Douglas Elliman, the Corcoran Group and Halstead Property take top spots in Manhattan’s ranking by agent count, their dominance and numerical advantage is less pronounced in Brooklyn.
Top 20 Brooklyn Brokerages Ranked by Agent Count
As of March 14, 2016
Corcoran Group 384
Fillmore Real Estate* 295
Exit Realty 291
Douglas Elliman Real Estate 236
Rapid Realty* 210
Ideal Properties Group* 191
Halstead Property 153
Century 21 Real Estate 140
Citi Habitats 139
MySpace NYC* 122
Coldwell Banker Real Estate 110
Keller Williams Realty 110
Brown Harris Stevens 105
Ben Bay Realty* 100
Weichert Realtors 63
Winzone Realty 54
Madison Estates* 51
Source: Department of State Licensed Broker and Salesperson data
*Brooklyn based brokerage
The Corcoran Group has more Brooklyn agents than any other firm – with 384 people across five offices, compared with its 1,128 licensed agents in Manhattan. Corcoran beat out second-place Fillmore Real Estate, which has 295 agents in 11 offices. Corcoran’s largest office in the borough is in Brooklyn Heights with 133 agents, while Fillmore’s agents are more evenly spread out among its 11 offices in the borough.
The No. 3 spot goes to Toronto’s Exit Realty franchise, which is composed of seven different firms scattered throughout the borough. The firm has 291 licensed brokers and salespeople. Exit Realty, Rapid Realty, Century 21 Real Estate, Coldwell Banker Real Estate and RE/MAX are national franchises with offices that operate separately, whereas companies like Douglas Elliman and Keller Williams are singular companies with multiple offices.
The list of Exit franchises includes Exit All Seasons Realty’s 60 agents in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Exit Realty Professionals’ 35 agents in Borough Park and Exit Realty Top Properties’ 62 agents in Dyker Heights. While similar franchises operate completely independently of one another, Exit’s franchise network is connected through monthly conference calls and franchise meetings, said Thomas D’Alcamo, owner of Exit Realty Top Properties.
Citi Habitats is another brokerage on our list looking to get an edge on Brooklyn’s smaller brokerages – by purchasing them. Citi Habitats acquired independent brokerage Aptsandlofts.com in October and gained another 38 agents at the beginning of May when it purchased Miron Properties.
Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, said having more agents does not guarantee success, but he acknowledged the value in operating a large brokerage.
“The brokerage world always has its ebbs and flows,” Malin said. “I worry about my own company and people. I’m not concerned with the other companies. My plan is always to continue to evolve.”
In sixth place was Ideal Properties Group, with four offices and 191 licensed agents in Brooklyn — more than Manhattan giants Halstead Property, Keller Williams and Brown Harris Stevens. Founded in 2007, Ideal Properties has focused on selling and renting Brooklyn brownstones.
MySpace NYC is another firm that operates exclusively in Brooklyn. Over seven years, it has grown from one office on Franklin Avenue in Crown Heights to five offices with a total of 122 agents.
“Competition in Brooklyn has been increasing daily as firms struggle to stand apart,” said Shawn Mullahy, managing partner at MySpace NYC.
MNS, a Williamsburg-based brokerage that also focuses on Manhattan, takes the 18th spot with 57 agents. CEO Andrew Barrocas is hoping to grow that number dramatically in the coming months.
“We have 15 projects opening in 2016,” Barrocas said. “Probably 6,000 new units coming to market. Maybe more. Now we need the agents.” Barrocas said MNS is looking to hire up to 30 new agents to stay on top of upcoming business. And like Citi Habitats’s Malin, he doesn’t lose sleep over the other firms on our list.
“There are some great [firms] on this list and we’re co-broking with a few of them,” Barrocas says. “There’s enough market for everyone if you have an angle. If you’re a smaller business, you need to have a particular focus.”
One of MNS’ co-founders, David Behin, recently moved to Newmark Grubb Knight Frank to run its Brooklyn sales division.
Madison Estates rounds out the top 20 with 51 agents in their two offices. Gerard Longo, a principal at the firm, said roughly 80 percent of its business is done by 40 percent of their licensed agents.
“What is the synergy between the agent and the firm?” Longo said. “You can have an agent that is successful at a mom-and-pop firm and unsuccessful at a larger level.”