Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors CEO Richard Haggerty
The roughly 10,000-member Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors will extend its broker network and eventually its residential listing service from the lower Hudson Valley to Manhattan with the group’s pending merger with the Manhattan Association of Realtors.
Hudson Gateway members at their annual meeting on Oct. 17 unanimously approved the merger, which will create a Manhattan chapter of Hudson Gateway as of Jan. 1, 2017. Members of the Manhattan association will vote on the proposed merger on Oct. 31, said HGAR CEO Richard Haggerty.
The agreement also calls for the eventual merger of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service — covering housing markets in Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties — with the Manhattan Association of Realtors Multiple Listing Service. That process will begin next year.
Tony D’Anzica, president of the Manhattan Realtors group, will represent the new Manhattan chapter on the Hudson Gateway Board of Directors in 2017.
Formed in 2001, the Manhattan Realtors organization is an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors and at its peak numbered more than 600 members, Haggerty said. But in the recession, some brokers dropped their memberships while others’ realty companies went out of business, leaving HGAR’s future Manhattan chapter with 110 to 120 members today, he said.
The Manhattan association is dwarfed by the city’s largest real estate organization, the Real Estate Board of New York, which severed its ties with the National Association of Realtors more than a quarter century ago, Haggerty said. The NAR two years ago implemented core standards required of its state and local associations — addressing financial solvency, technology, consumer outreach, advocacy, code of ethics and Realtor unification — and compliance “has been a challenge for some of the smaller organizations” such as the Manhattan group, he said.
Haggerty said the merger offers HGAR an opportunity to reestablish the Realtors presence in Manhattan. “We think there’s room for growth,” he said. “We think there’s opportunity to bring the Realtors brand into the city. That’s what our hope is; that’s what our goal is.”
The merger also will give HGAR member brokers a referral network stretching from Manhattan to Orange County in the Hudson Valley, Haggerty noted. Increasingly, New York City employers are offering flexible arrangements for employees that allow them to live in communities as distant as Orange and Ulster counties and commute less frequently to company offices in Manhattan. That flexibility could send more prospective homebuyers from Manhattan to the northern counties served by HGAR.
“Prices in Manhattan have gone crazy,” said Haggerty. “Prices in the lower Hudson Valley are not flat, but they’re not as crazy as the city.”
Headquartered in White Plains, the Hudson Gateway group was formed nearly five years ago in a merger of the Westchester Putnam Association of Realtors, Rockland County Board of Realtors and Orange County Association of Realtors. Haggerty said it has 10,300 members. In an improving economy and resurgent housing market in the region, Hudson Gateway has added more than 1,000 members this year, he said.