The Battle for Listings — Who’s Winning the War? Not the Buyers ...
Last summer, one of New York City’s leading real estate listing sites — Zillow’s StreetEasy — substantially changed several key features of its business model that it had previously touted as central to their primary vision. Initially, in a push to provide consumers with more truthful and factual data in an industry rife with shady, bait-and-switch practices, StreetEasy had prided itself on publishing only exclusive listings. A policy which made it easy for the consumer to reach the listing agent directly.
In July 2017, however, that all changed. The website began to charge agents to list rentals, and they launched the highly controversial Premier Agent feature. With Premier Agent, any agent could position their own name on any listing — ahead of the actual exclusive listing agent — by buying the exposure. It’s a pure pay-to-play scheme that makes StreetEasy a complicit part of the bait-and-switch industry they once railed against. Almost overnight, the number of rental listings dropped significantly and so did the sale listings.
Now, a year later, we wanted to see if StreetEasy has rebounded. With the help of the Compass data mining team, we checked in on the website’s current listing volume, and it would seem that StreetEasy never came back. According to our numbers (see figures below), StreetEasy rentals have dropped 37 percent from last year, and sales listings have dropped 38 percent. Even accounting for changes in year-over-year inventory, this is a substantial decline.
In this rapidly changing buyers’ market, it’s crucial that buyers have access to all available inventory to make the bet, most informed choices. If they’re working without a buyers’ agent and relying on a site like StreetEasy, they’re missing out on almost 40 percent of the inventory out there.
Buyers must secure the services of a quality, honest and knowledgeable agent quickly and before they make offers! Agent-to-agent sales account for over 95 percent of all transaction in New York City, and with StreetEasy’s clear abandonment of consumers in favor of profits, it’s more important that ever to work with a professional agent to help you navigate these waters again!
StreetEasy rental inventory in July 2017, prior to rental policy change
15,534 Manhattan Apartments For Rent
10,722 Brooklyn Apartments For Rent
StreetEasy rental inventory in August 2018, one year after rental policy change
10,359 Manhattan Apartments For Rent
6,170 Brooklyn Apartments For Rent
A decline of 37 percent since July 2017
StreetEasy sales inventory in July 2017, prior to Premier Agent
11,841 Manhattan Sales
5,708 Brooklyn Sales
StreetEasy sales inventory in August 2018, one year after Premier Agent
6,941 Manhattan Sales
3,958 Brooklyn Sales
A decline of 38 percent since July 2017
Source: Compass Listings Department