They won the listings — but can they sell them?
That’s a question New York’s top residential agents have been grappling with for the past few years, with buyers calling the shots in a slow-moving market. Amid tax-reform jitters in 2017 and a pileup of new condo inventory, an affirmative answer often boils down to one thing: price.
This month, in addition to ranking Manhattan’s top agents by their closed deals, The Real Deal tallied their total dollar volume of listings — which offers a window into who’s locking down exclusives and teeing up the most business.
TRD also changed its methodology this year.
Rather than giving agents full credit if they shared a listing with another broker at their own firm, we divvied up their dollar volume. (For example, if two brokers from Brown Harris Stevens closed a $30 million deal together, we awarded each $15 million. If there were three BHS agents who shared a listing, each one got $10 million worth of credit.)
As a group, the top 40 agents on the ranking were marketing $9.5 billion worth of listings on May 1, our one-day snapshot of properties listed on On-Line Residential.
Meanwhile, the top 20 agents on TRD’s list this year have $6.6 billion worth of exclusives — roughly the same as last year’s $6.7 billion.
But with inventory in Manhattan rising, brokers said they’re seeing a shift among sellers, who are finally lowering prices or adjusting expectations.
Compass President Leonard Steinberg clocked in at No. 1 with 46 exclusives listed for a combined $535.8 million. He was followed by Douglas Elliman’s Richard Steinberg with $519.7 million worth of listings and the Corcoran Group’s Carrie Chiang and Janet Wang with $490.6 million.
Others at the top of the list were Elliman’s Fredrik Eklund and John Gomes at No. 4 with $439.4 million in listings, followed by Brown Harris Stevens’ John Burger (with $433.3 million) and Sotheby’s International Realty’s Stan Ponte (with $426 million).
Nest Seekers International’s Ryan Serhant — No. 1 on TRD’s closed-sale ranking —clocked in at No. 10 with $381.4 million in Manhattan exclusives.
Zeroing in on Burger and Serhant, though, offers an interesting case study in volume versus exclusivity. Serhant, the co-star of Bravo TV’s “Million Dollar Listing: New York” had 66 Manhattan exclusives, asking an average of $5.7 million each. Meanwhile, Burger had 19 exclusives, asking an average of $22.8 million.
“We’re very aggressive,” said Serhant, who had a mix of new development and resale units priced between $590,000 and $9.5 million at the time of the snapshot. “I try to stay as diversified as possible.”
For Burger, the most expensive of his listings was a palatial co-op at 834 Fifth Avenue — once the city’s priciest listing at $120 million, it’s now listed for $76 million. (He’s sharing the exclusive with Larry Kaiser of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New York Properties, who is not on TRD’s ranking.)
“The price adjustment reflects the price of the last transaction in the building in this size category,” Burger told TRD in September.
It’s a sentiment other top agents share.
“My advice is to price tight and hope to get multiple offers,” said Elliman’s Steinberg. “And don’t reach for the sky.”