Brooklyn’s newest entrants to the frenzied world of New York real estate may be relatively small, but they are growing at a much faster clip than the booming borough’s elder statesmen.
The Real Deal recently compared data from the Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services from June 14, 2016 with data from Feb. 20 of this year to determine which of Brooklyn’s residential brokerages had seen the sharpest increases in agent count over the past 20 months. Here’s what we found: the firms sporting the strongest growth, by and large, are the new kids on the block.
Compass, which launched in 2013 and is rich with VC money, saw the largest increase at roughly 254 percent, shooting up from 24 to 85 agents. EXR, founded in 2014, was in second place with an approximately 170 percent increase from 54 to 146 agents, followed by Sunset Park’s E House Realty, which was founded in 2011 and went up from 30 to 62 agents for a roughly 107 percent increase.
Nooklyn, which started as a blog in 2010, placed fourth, and Momentum Real Estate came in fifth, with both firms seeing a roughly 86 percent increase. Nooklyn’s agent count went up from 136 to 254, while Momentum’s rose from 44 to 82.
Moiz Malik, chief financial officer at Nooklyn, said his company’s goal is to double its agent head count each year and hire 375 new agents this year. He said brokers often come to them from smaller firms and are attracted by the company’s infrastructure.
“Because we have our own website and app that generate leads, agents can come, and they don’t have to do the same advertising work that they have to do at their previous firm,” he said.
John Le Vine, co-founder of EXR, said his company’s main focus is on managing residential and commercial portfolios for landlords, and a big part of this is hiring enough agents to lease everything out.
“We fill the demand for these robust residential/commercial portfolios, and to do that we need a lot of agents,” he said, “so for agents, it’s a win-win because they come into a firm that has a lot of listings and has a lot of support specifically to move those listings.”
Like with Nooklyn, Le Vine said agents generally come to the firm if they are looking to move to a company with more properties, and he attributed part of its growth to its opening of a second office in Clinton Hill. The firm is now focusing on trying to automate several of the more tedious tasks that tend to eat up agents’ time, allowing them to focus more on making deals.
Despite the high levels of growth at the aforementioned firms, Nooklyn was the only firm whose agent count rose enough to crack the top five overall. The Corcoran Group was number one in Brooklyn for the number of licensed agents overall at 419, followed by Exit Realty at 292 and Douglas Elliman at 281. Nooklyn came in fourth, followed by Fillmore Real Estate at 253. (TRD included agents at all company franchises in Brooklyn to reach its totals.)
Corcoran and Exit were numbers one and two in June 2016 as well, followed by Fillmore, Douglas Elliman and Rapid Realty.
E House Realty still ranks just 22nd by overall agent count, but founder David Feng stressed that they are based in the rapidly growing Sunset Park, where is becoming an increasingly popular destination for Chinese buyers.
“All of them like to buy or invest [in] properties in Sunset Park,” Feng said. “It brings lots of opportunity for us to do business in this area.”
Correction: Growth percentages were previously calculated incorrectly.