The long-simmering tension between New York real estate brokerages and listings site StreetEasy came to a head this week, as four brokerages announced that they would no longer feed any of their listings to the aggregator.
According to The Real Deal, those brokerages—Compass, Stribling, Brown Harris Stevens, and Town—will instead send their listings to the Real Estate Board of New York’s new Residential Listings Service, which launched yesterday. (Corcoran has also said it will remove its rental listings from the site, while keeping its for-sale ones on StreetEasy.) Per Crain’s, the REBNY service—which, crucially, is not consumer-facing—“can then push out the apartment information to the wide array of websites from one source called a syndicated feed.”
StreetEasy, however, has said that it will not accept listings from the REBNY feed, preferring to work directly with brokerages themselves. “Our top priority is listing quality and our goal is to get listing data as close to the original source as possible,” StreetEasy head Susan Daimler told The Real Deal. “By inserting themselves as the syndication hub, the RLS is adding another layer in which data can lose quality, integrity, and timeliness.”
In recent months, the way StreetEasy gets its information from brokerages has changed. First, in the spring, the site (owned by Zillow Group, which also owns Zillow, Trulia, Naked Apartments, and HotPads) instituted a new “Premier Agent” program, which had the brokerage community up in arms. More recently, the company instituted a $3/day fee for brokers to list rentals on the site—and for many firms, that was the last straw. (A StreetEasy spokesperson countered with this to the New York Post: “Consider that they earn thousands of dollars in commissions per listing for potentially no work, and this will cost them under $100.”)
While this all seems like a lot of industry back-and-forth, it will ultimately have an effect on the people who should matter most: New Yorkers looking for apartments. StreetEasy has become one of, if not the main aggregators for listings in the city, so diminished inventory—by some accounts, its rental listings dropped by half after the $3/day surcharge was announced—will change the way many people conduct their apartment searches, though the extent of that remains to be seen. (Got a story you want to share about your search being affected by the StreetEasy change? Comment below, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Update: A StreetEasy spokesperson clarified to Curbed that no listings have so far been lost as a result of the four brokerages moving to REBNY’s RLS, but will instead no longer be updated. Individual brokers, meanwhile, are still able to add listings to StreetEasy if they so choose.