The biggest real estate firms in Brooklyn represent a mix of Manhattan’s top players, franchises of international agencies, and lesser-known independent firms rooted in the borough, according to data from the New York Department of State.
As of May 30, Corcoran Group again topped the list as the largest brokerage in Brooklyn with 419 registered agents. Franchise firm Exit Realty took home the number two spot with 342 agents spread across eight different offices, while Fillmore Real Estate, which was founded in 1966 and is the largest privately owned firm in Brooklyn, came in at number three with 287 agents spread across five offices. Douglas Elliman and Citi Habitats rounded out the top five with 250 and 222 agents, respectively.
Although the number of Brooklyn agents at Corcoran, Fillmore and Douglas Elliman has stayed relatively consistent over the past year, Exit Realty and Citi Habitats both saw significant increases of more than 50 agents.
|TOP BROOKLYN FIRMS BY NUMBER OF LICENSED AGENTS|
|Fillmore Real Estate||293|
|Ideal Properties Group||175|
Gary Malin, president of Citi Habitats, said his company has expanded from zero to four offices in Brooklyn over about 18 months. The firm — which acquired Dave Maundrell’s Aptsandlofts.com in late 2015 — is in Williamsburg, Cobble Hill, Greenpoint and Bedford-Stuyvesant, and plans to expand further in Brooklyn.
“Naturally, people are focusing on the areas in closer proximity to their offices,” he said, “but at the same time, they’re expanding out to many neighborhoods: Crown Heights, Bushwick, Downtown Brooklyn. Just because I don’t have an office there … doesn’t mean I don’t want to be there.”
Although it still has about 500 more agents registered in Manhattan than in Brooklyn, Malin said the borough has become an appealing place for agents to work.
“Established neighborhoods in Manhattan don’t have same the level of growth and excitement,” he said.
Unlike the brokerages battling for Park Slope brownstones and the glut of new development rentals in Fort Greene, Fillmore Real Estate has targeted less-heralded neighborhoods. Though it still maintains a presence in trendier spots like Williamsburg, Fillmore’s bread-and-butter is sales and rentals in areas like Bay Ridge, Sheepshead Bay and Mill Basin, said John Reinhardt, the president and CEO.
A growing number of brokerages are expanding into areas that they once ignored due to rising demand, said Reinhardt, whose firm has 12 offices in the borough.
“They’re dabbling into East New York. They’re dabbling into East Flatbush,” he said. “They’re dabbling into areas they wouldn’t have looked at before.”
Several firms in the top 10 are Brooklyn-based franchises and independent shops, including Rapid Realty and Ideal Properties, which have 199 and 175 agents in the borough, respectively, according to the Department of State.
Rapid Realty COO Carlos Angelucci said his company has more than 20 offices in Brooklyn and is focused on expanding nationwide. They are still beefing up in Brooklyn as well, with plans to open offices in Prospect-Lefferts Gardens and East New York.
“Brooklyn is no longer a secondary destination,” Angelucci said. “It is really a primary destination now, so every brand wants to be here.”
Aleksandra Scepanovic, managing director of Ideal Properties, launched the company with her partner in 2007 after reporting on the war in Bosnia during the 1990s. Ideal focuses on rentals and sales in neighborhoods including Park Slope, Gowanus, Williamsburg and Cobble Hill. Scepanovic said that the biggest push into Brooklyn took place about six years ago and that there was still plenty of business to do despite the large number of brokerages working in the borough.
“We’ve always gone neck-to-neck with corporations here,” she said. “There’s just so much business in Brooklyn, just like in Manhattan, that it’s no wonder that every single corner on every single commercial thoroughfare in prime Brooklyn areas has a real estate office.”