Following weeks of fighting between StreetEasy and many of the city’s top brokerages, Realogy — parent company to Corcoran Group, Citi Habitats and Sotheby’s International Realty — inked a “long-term, multi-year” deal with StreetEasy’s parent firm Zillow, The Real Deal has learned.
The move, which deals a blow to the uneasy alliance of New York City firms trying to assert control over their listings, allows agents at those three companies to post rental and sales listings on StreetEasy at no cost to the agents, Corcoran CEO Pam Liebman told agents in an email.
“Our primary concern has always been to make sure that our customers receive the best possible service in the industry, and that you get the same from us,” Liebman said in the email. “We of course will still support the RLS feed and will continue to send our listings through the RLS to the hundreds of aggregation sites that have signed on to it.”
In a statement, StreetEasy confirmed a deal with the three firms “now and for years to come.”
“We are incredibly happy to strengthen our relationship with some of the city’s most influential real estate firms who are making their landlords and sellers their number one priority,” Susan Daimler, StreetEasy’s general manager, said.
But in brokering a deal with StreetEasy, sources said Corcoran and Realogy had dealt a “big blow” to firms that hoped to break the website’s grip on New York City listings by sending sales and rental feeds exclusively to the Real Estate Board of New York’s residential listings service (RLS). StreetEasy has refused to accept the REBNY’s syndicated RLS feed, arguing publicly that the data would be tainted for customers.
“She got everyone to go get their bathing suits on, and when it was time to jump in, she never did,” groused one brokerage source.
To date, a total of 11 firms have stopped — or said they will stop — their automatic feeds to StreetEasy. They include Halstead Property, Brown Harris Stevens, Town Residential, Compass, Stribling & Associates, Warburg Realty, Fox Residential, Kleier Residential, Leslie J. Garfield, Bond New York and Tungsten. Individual agents at those firms can choose to update their own listings — and many are doing so, as TRD has reported.
Early on, Liebman expressed displeasure with StreetEasy charging agents $3 a day per rental listing: “I think that it’s not a good move,” she told TRD in July.
On Wednesday, she cited the needs of agents as a key driver behind the deal. “I’m confident that this agreement and direction is in the very best interest of our clients and our agents,” she said.
However, critics said the firm’s latest move was similar to its response to StreetEasy’s Premier Agent program, which lets agents purchase buyer leads in certain zip codes: Initially, the firm blasted the advertising program, but ultimately, it signed onto Premier Broker, a version of the program that allows firms to purchase leads in bulk. (So did rival Douglas Elliman.)
As for the new rental fee, Corcoran and Elliman took different approaches until now. Following the launch of StreetEasy’s $3 per day fee on July 18, Elliman said it would cover those costs for agents through the agent advertising budgets. Corcoran (and Citi Habitats) stopped sending rental listings to StreetEasy in protest, though individual agents were able to send listings to the site.
Over the past few weeks, StreetEasy has aggressively courted agents whose firms won’t feed listings to the site, urging them to post listings themselves. As of late August, nearly a third of sales listings from four major firms — BHS, Town, Compass and Stribling — were manually updated while two-thirds of rental listings were updated, StreetEasy said. As of Tuesday night, StreetEasy had a total of 11,760 sales listings and 17,367 rental listings.