NEW YORK — In a move that will make it easier for consumers to search for homes for sale, the Real Estate Board of New York has voted to implement Internet Data Exchange (IDX), a system employed in most U.S. markets that allows participating agents and brokerages to display properties represented by competitors on their websites.
Previously, REBNY members could provide public access only to listings pooled by the organization’s listing service, RLS, through virtual office websites, or VOWs, which require users to register.
Implementation of IDX, expected sometime in the fourth quarter, will make it possible for the public to search pooled listings anonymously on participating agent and broker websites.
David Walker, CEO of next-generation broker Suitey, said that many real estate websites operated by brokers and agents in New York City don’t allow consumers to search much more than their own listings. So the arrival of IDX, he said, could be a “really positive change.”
“There’s now an opportunity to build better products for consumers,” he said.
Because IDX is almost universally employed by associations and multiple listing services in markets around the U.S., it is supported by many vendors who build websites, mobile apps, and other tools for brokers and agents.
Depending on whether brokers take advantage of it, IDX could make their websites more competitive against third-party listing sites, like StreetEasy, which was acquired by Zillow last year, Walker said.
Diane Ramirez, CEO of Halstead Property, said IDX has the “potential of transforming the consumer search experience for anyone buying, selling or renting New York City real estate.”
IDX is typically an all-or-nothing proposition — brokers who want to display IDX listings on their own sites must supply listings they represent to a pooled feed that’s available to competitors. All participants must supply their own listings to the pool, and all participants must display information about each other’s listings when they turn up in searches.
In many U.S. markets, most or all brokers participate in IDX, so consumers searching broker and agent IDX websites can see virtually all of the homes for sale in that market, not just those represented by the brokerage operating the website.
In New York, the Manhattan Association of Realtors, which owns and operates Manhattan MLS, has had IDX since its inception in 2005. But until now MAR, which has 450 Realtor and non-Realtor members, has been the only provider of IDX services in Manhattan.
REBNY, a 15,000-member trade association that’s not affiliated with the National Association of Realtors, said its transition to a new Real Estate Transaction Standards-compliant RLS database allowed it to adopt IDX.
“As a member of REBNY’S residential board of directors, I’m so pleased that an IDX is now going to become a reality,” said Barbara Fox, president of Fox Residential Group. “The decision comes after years of working to find better, simpler and more transparent ways for the consumer to access all listings in the city of New York.”
REBNY said it will work with Stratus Data Systems, which operates the RLS’ data transmission engine, potential IDX vendors, and participating brokerages, brokers and agents, on achieving “full implementation” during the fourth quarter.