The number of rental listings on StreetEasy plunged after the firm began charging brokers $3-per-day for posting on the site, data show.
The policy went into effect Tuesday, July 18, and appeared to cut the number of listings on the site by around half. While StreetEasy, which is owned by Zillow Group, does not release historical data on the number of listings, an internet archive called the Wayback Machine showed that there were roughly 30,700 rental listings on the site July 3. On Tuesday afternoon, another listing website called Leasebreak posted numbers indicating that listings had dropped to around 13,750.
StreetEasy said the dropoff was to be expected. While brokers were notified weeks ago that the charges were coming, many did not set up automatic payments, by Tuesday, so their listings were being scrubbed from the site.
"We anticipated that many agents would sign up after the deadline, once they realized their listings were no longer on StreetEasy, and today we're seeing agents opting in by the minute," Susan Daimler, StreetEasy General Manager, said in a statement.
By the end of the day, hours after the post by Leasebreak, the number of rental listings had climbed to around 15,500. The firm expects it to take weeks for the listings to stabilize, and does not expect the numbers to return to where they were, since many listings on the site were either outdated or not real.
"Stale inventory is getting weeded out," Daimler said. "We're excited about what this means for renters in New York City, who now have access to a database of legitimate, active and accurate NYC inventory."
Brokerages, on the other, hand, were less enthusiastic about the changes.
"This is just a continuation of the Zillow/StreetEasy business plan," Town Residential CEO Andrew Heiberger told The Real Deal. "It's no surprise. On the one hand, StreetEasy and Zillow deserve to be compensated for aggregating and distributing leads. On the other hand, this feels more like a tax on rental agents."
The fee does not apply to for-sale listings, yet......