(Bloomberg) – New York residential brokers are set to have their own listing website to compete with real estate giant Zillow Group Inc.

The city’s major brokerage firms – and the business group that represents them – are working with Homesnap, owned by CoStar Group Inc., to develop the new platform. Citysnap, due to debut next year, will offer home buyers an alternative to Zillow’s StreetEasy and other sites that agents say are using their hard-earned ads as a springboard to generate income.

The effort comes after several years of acrimony between New York’s residential real estate industry and the websites it now relies on to reach the general public. Officers protested StreetEasy’s practice of charging a daily fee for rental listings. And Zillow has faced legal challenges over its “Agent Premier” program, which brokers say allows any agent, anywhere, to close a deal by paying a fee to Zillow.

“This is definitely something that has been a hot spot for the brokerage community,” said Gary Malin, COO of Corcoran Group, who advised the initiative.

Citysnap will take the listing site run by the New York Real Estate Board – for now, open only to professional agents – and make it accessible to the public, with features it expects, like sales history of a property. and notification of price changes. REBNY’s service has more than 40,000 active listings from nearly 600 brokerage firms and real estate owners.

The new site will compete for attention with Zillow’s StreetEasy – a New York staple for brokers, consumers and street real estate voyeurs, and known for its comprehensive database. Users can see, for example, all the apartments for sale in a given building, any discounts their owners may have offered, or whether neighbors have a tax lien filed against their unit.

Being indispensable to brokers has been a financial boon for Zillow. In the second quarter, company-wide revenue for the Premier Agent business jumped 82% from a year ago. As part of the program, agents pay Zillow a fee to connect with potential buyers who express an interest in a given listing.

Citysnap will ensure that buyers interested in a particular home will contact the broker who listed it, not a random agent, according to Andy Florance, Founder and CEO of CoStar.

“It’s a better customer experience,” he said. “With this person I’m calling, am I starting a telemarketing nightmare or am I contacting the agent who knows about this ad?” ”

© 2021 Bloomberg LP


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