The Real Deal New York

Hamptons resi firms abandon nascent MLS

Brokerages throw in towel after StreetEasy purchased de facto listing system in January

Andrew Saunders and East End Listing System website

Chalk another one up for StreetEasy.

Major residential brokerages in the Hamptons have been trying to form a centralized listing system for three years, but after StreetEasy acquired the East End’s go-to listing system, they’ve pulled the plug.

The firms, including Brown Harris Stevens, Corcoran Group, Douglas Elliman, Saunders & Associates and Sotheby’s International Realty, came together three years ago to create a multiple listing system called the East End Listing Exchange. A total of 13 residential firms supported the effort, which resulted in a new professional trade organization modeled after the Real Estate Board of New York.

In a statement Friday, the firms said they were disbanding the trade organization, dubbed the East End Real Estate Association (EEREA), and were ending their collective effort to create a centralized MLS. EEREA counted 1,100 agents as members.

“There were just too many moving parts in achieving this objective,” EEREA’s director, Joseph Sabella, said in the statement. Sabella said EEREA’s board decided to throw in the towel and “wipe the slate clean.” Members “will likely renew an effort to form or join a professional real estate organization,” he said, after re-examining technology options.

As of October, the five founding firms started entering listings in the system, which was set to go live in January.

That month, Seattle-based Zillow announced that New York subsidiary StreetEasy would purchase the Hamptons’ de facto MLS — Hamptons Real Estate Online (HREO) — for an undisclosed amount.

StreetEasy and HREO are “intrinsically” linked, just as New York City and the Hamptons are, StreetEasy general manager Susan Daimler said at the time. “It’s a natural pairing,” she said.
A centralized MLS has also slipped through the cracks in New York City, thanks to years of infighting among firms. The last major attempt, in 2000, turned into an industrywide fight that’s come back to haunt brokers that are now at odds with StreetEasy over its advertising programs, including the controversial Premier Agent feature.