Ultra-Luxury and Open Listings

I have spent a lot of time thinking about The Great Open Listing Portal Debate that was cranked up a notch recently by the Real Estate Board of New York’s efforts to make member firms’ listings public.

As anyone who reads True Gotham knows, I am a proponent of making every listing (not just REBNY member firms) public.

That said, I have recently been thinking about my higher-end clients in the luxury marketplace who may not be as enthusiastic. I’m sure most of my clients, colleagues, and friends in that ultra-luxury marketplace would agree to have their property exposed to the general public, but certainly some would not. Some may not want colleagues, neighbors, or indeed strangers to know that they are moving. Others may have priceless furniture, artwork, or personal heirlooms whose photos they wouldn’t want in a public forum. Some may simply prefer to only have their property “shopped” to those who can afford it. (Why list your $25M home on a public portal when most $25M buyers are not looking on that portal?)

The ultra-luxury buyer is almost exclusively represented by a sophisticated real estate agent who is familiar with the types of properties that their buyer is seeking. Furthermore, the agent representing the seller is equally familiar with these types of properties and those who would be qualified to purchase them, particularly if they are looking at co-ops.

So as much as I may want to see a database of ALL properties made available to the public, the reality of this happening in a city like Manhattan is much less likely than I originally thought. Some percentage of owners will certainly resist. Probably not nearly enough to affect the overall efficacy of an open listings service–a quick check of current Manhattan listings reveals 6.2% of Manhattan listings are in the $5 million or more group I suspect would be most reticent. Most likely all that it means is that for those who wish to sell in a more private fashion there will always be a niche market to provide that type of service.

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