A group of six northern California multiple listing services, which plan to band together to form one of the largest MLSs in the country, have named their new organization the Northern California Real Estate Exchange (NCREX), according to an announcement today.

NCREX, which will be phased in over the next couple of years, is expected to facilitate up to 100,000 property transactions per year representing over $100 billion in annual real estate sales, announced Clareity Consulting, a company that is providing services to assist with the consolidation plan.

“The 12 person regionalization task force chose the term ‘real estate exchange’ because the term ‘MLS’ is somewhat outmoded and means different things to different people; plus it also has historical baggage attached to it,” said Gregg Larson, CEO of Clareity Consulting.

“We are trying to create a brand-new real estate information exchange for the next 20 years, and we wanted to start with a blank sheet of paper to design it properly.” He added, “A fresh name helps free up people’s thinking, which opens the possibility to do something truly remarkable in Northern California.”

The consolidation of MLS data has been a hot topic in California and elsewhere. There are separate discussions among a group of Southern California MLSs to regionalize the sharing of property data, and a San Francisco lawyer is pursuing a ballot initiative to create a statewide multiple listings service. Also, California Association of Realtors officials have laid some groundwork for sharing MLS data statewide.

It has been a controversial issue, though, as some local MLSs are worried that regionalization efforts could lead to membership and staff reductions, and some brokers and agents worry that real estate professionals will expand their geographic focus to compete on unfamiliar turf.

NCREX has begun its search for brokerage owners and brokerage senior executives to fill 12 of its 15 director seats. The three remaining seats are reserved for the organization’s future CEO and two outside directors.

“NCREX is searching for broker candidates who are business oriented, successful, and well respected industry leaders,” the announcement states.

Directors for the new entity will come from a mix of small, medium, and large companies.

“NCREX is being designed to serve its brokers, agents and other subscribers, not to be a profit center. Our goal is to create a technically competent information management and service delivery organization that is financially stable and designed to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s business world. NCREX is not being designed to enrich anyone or any organization in the process,” said Larson, who is acting as NCREX spokesperson.

The MLS participants have agreed to standardize on a single set of business rules and regulations and a common database structure. The organization will begin mapping the multiple MLS databases into one common database format later this month.

“NCREX expects to have the standardized and consolidated database completed and populated by mid-2006 and available tobrokers and their authorized IDX providers by third-quarter 2006. The multiple MLS organizations will consolidate operations and convert to the new NCREX system throughout 2007,” the announcement states.

The regional MLS is expected to create efficiencies for real estate brokers and agents by eliminating the need to belong to multiple MLSs and comply with multiple sets of rules and regulations.

The organizations founding NCREX are: REInfolink, Contra Costa MLS, Bay East MLS, East Bay Regional Data, Central Valley MLS and the San Francisco Association of Realtors MLS. The group of participants has invited other Northern California MLSs to join NCREX, too.

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Send tips or a Letter to the Editor to glenn@inman.com or call (510) 658-9252, ext. 137.

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