Homesnap, the residential real estate listing portal in the process of being acquired by CoStar Group, is reportedly in talks to develop a New York City-focused listing portal in partnership with the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY). The portal would give CoStar Group a direct rival to StreetEasy, which is owned by Zillow, according to the report from AIM Group.
The existence of the alleged partnership between REBNY and Homesnap was first reported by The Real Deal, but neither party would confirm details of its existence to Inman.
“REBNY continues to innovate and improve the [Residential Listing Service] and we look forward to announcing upgrades and improvements in the future,” Sam Spokony, a spokesperson for REBNY said, in a statement.
REBNY is the New York City-based trade association for real estate agents in both the commercial and residential sectors. It has previously never had a proprietary public-facing real estate portal for its Residential Listing Service (RLS), which distributes listings for local member brokerages.
RLS does not syndicate to StreetEasy, rather listings appear on StreetEasy through direct partnership inputs from agents and brokerages. RLS does send its listings to realtor.com, RentHop and Homes.com.
The New York City-based portal would likely be similar to Homesnap’s national listing portal, in that it’s built with participation from the real estate industry. The Homesnap portal is built as a joint venture with Broker Public Portal, which is a project backed by real estate brokerages and real estate trade associations through their multiple listing services.
Joe Rand, the executive director of the Broker Public Portal, has himself been critical of the lack of available and cohesive data for real estate brokerages in New York City.
Group CEO Andy Florance hasn’t been shy about his goal of creating offerings to create an alternative to Zillow and this would give his company a direct competitor with an industry partner.
Florance, in an interview with Inman last month, was critical of Zillow’s business model, and said he isn’t looking to explicitly replace Zillow.
“We will not create a billion dollar product putting other people’s names on the wrong listing,” Florance said.
Others have tried entering the space to compete with StreetEasy, in the past. The OneKey MLS — originally launched at New York MLS — was created as a partnership between Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors and the Long Island Board of Realtors in 2018. In October, it added the Bronx-Manhattan North Association of Realtors.
Gabriels Technology Solutions, headed by real estate data veteran Michael Gabriel, launched Homes.NYC last week, intended to be an alternative to StreetEasy. The company markets that it uses high-resolution video of buildings and aerial neighborhood imagery as a differentiator.
“Video provides consumers with a unique experience, bringing them to the entrance of their new residence,” Gabriel said in a statement. “New York City is one of the most iconic cities in the world and Homes.NYC is the only search site that combines the beauty of aerial neighborhood and building video with the properties inside.”
REBNY, however, reportedly hit Gabriel with a cease and desist letter four days before the website — which is live as of Friday — was set to launch. REBNY reportedly accused Gabriels Technology Solutions and its partner RealPlus of improperly using REBNY-member data, according to The Real Deal.
Homesnap declined to comment on if the partnership exists and any specifics.