Over the last few weeks, The Real Deal has been examining MLS sales data to highlight the lesser-known residential brokerages closing the highest volume of sales in the outer boroughs.
Today we look at Brooklyn, where the top independent shops and franchises largely avoid traditional powerhouses like Douglas Elliman and the Corcoran Group in pricey locales such as Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Park Slope, and instead target buyers in further-flung neighborhoods, where competition remains fierce.
Because many of the top firms in Brooklyn — such as Corcoran, Brown Harris Stevens, Citi Habitats and MNS — do not participate in the Brooklyn MLS and instead use StreetEasy or OLR, they are not represented in this ranking. But the MLS data does offer insight into the business models of independent and franchise firms cleaning up in places like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Sheepshead Bay and Brighton Beach.
The Brooklyn company with the highest amount of residential sales volume on the MLS database was Realty Executives Metro, which closed $135 million worth of residential deals from April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017, according to TRD‘s analysis. The franchise firm’s principal Sal Calabrese did not respond to requests for comment, but most of its active listings appear to be small multifamily properties in places like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Sunset Park.
Realty Executives Metro was followed by Ben Bay Realty, which sold $126 million worth of properties in the same time period, according to MLS data.
Other international and national franchises that appear on the list include Weichert Realtors—the Franzese Group at number seven and Exit Realty Professionals at number eight.
Anthony Franzese, broker/owner of Weichert Realtors—the Franzese Group, described Brooklyn as “so hot right now,” saying that his company is even seeing interest spike in East New York and Brownsville.
“Demand all over Brooklyn is pretty high because there are just so many people coming,” he said. “It’s grown so much, and there’s so much to do now in Brooklyn compared to how we used to be.”
|TOP BROOKLYN FIRMS BY RESIDENTIAL SALES VOLUME|
|Realty Executives Metro||$134,508,775|
|Ben Bay Realty Co||$125,836,000|
|RE/MAX at the Slope||$122,766,800|
|Keller Williams Realty Empire||$114,368,499|
|Momentum Real Estate LLC||$108,618,898|
|Ben Bay Realty Co of Bay Ridge||$105,031,100|
|Weichert Realtors The Franzese||$104,289,376|
|Exit Realty Professionals||$79,970,800|
|Realty Executives Metro||$79,870,764|
|Talk of the Town Realty Corp||$67,141,000|
|Source: The Real Deal analysis of residential (condo, co-op, single family and multi family between two and eight units) sales closed in Brooklyn between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017 that appeared in Brooklyn MLS data|
Jeffrey Peldman, owner of Talk of the Town, said his company focuses on residential sales in south Brooklyn neighborhoods such as Brighton Beach and Marine Park, and Mitchell Duong, broker/owner of Momentum Realty, said their go-to neighborhoods include Dyker Heights and Sheepshead Bay. While such neighborhoods may not be in the spotlight as often as places like Williamsburg and Park Slope, both owners said they still see plenty of demand.
Peldman said demand is more from lifelong Brooklynites than from people moving to the borough for the first time.
“We’re not really getting the overflow from the areas that have become like the ‘new Brooklyn,’” he said. “Most of our clientele are people who have been here for a long time. They buy and they sell in the same area.”
Charles Olson, broker/owner of Keller Williams Realty Empire, said business was strong throughout Brooklyn, including in neighborhoods like Flatbush and Midwood. He said buyers are now more concerned with being close to the subway than they are with being close to Manhattan.
“Anywhere along the train lines, you’re going to get a lot of business,” he said. “They’re moving outside from Downtown Brooklyn as long as it’s near the train line.”
At this point, the only factor scaring off potential Brooklyn clients is a literal natural disaster, according to Olson.
“The only areas I see that remain cool are flood zones,” he said. “Anything near or on the water that got flooded by Sandy, the demand still isn’t there for those properties.”