A multiple listing service or MLS is a data sharing and listing distribution platform on which real estate professionals share real estate listings and relevant information. Most parts of the US have a single MLS that is operated by the local board of realtors, but if you wanted to find the NYC multiple listing service, you'd likely have trouble as there are multiple competing options.
Does NYC Have an MLS?
Practically speaking, no, there is no proper NYC MLS. This is partly because there has never been a local board of realtors in New York City. Another contributing factor is the cutthroat competition between Manhattan brokerages, who have always tried to avoid cooperating with one another. This also explains why it's taken the Real Estate Board of New York so long to implement a simple IDX.
New York City Multiple Listings Options
Instead of one dominant New York City multiple listings service, what you have is multiple smaller NYC MLS providers. The most dominant MLS in New York City is the Real Estate Board of New York's RLS. Some other well-established ones include the Manhattan MLS (MANAR), MLSLI, HGAR, OneKey, SIBOR, Brooklyn MLS, and the NYS MLS.
The REBNY RLS is the dominant multiple listing service in Manhattan, with virtually all brokerages on the island being members. The RLS also has good coverage in prime neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, such as Brooklyn Heights, Park Slope, Long Island City, and the like. If you're looking to sell a home in Manhattan, you'll want to make sure it's listed on the RLS.
One key difference between the RLS and many other multiple listing services is that there is no consumer-facing portal for the RLS. REBNY is also independent of the NAR, so not all members are realtors. While not having a consumer-facing portal is a bit of a drawback, REBNY partners with hundreds of websites all over the world, offering incredible listing syndication.
The Brooklyn MLS is a relatively small MLS that mostly serves the southern and eastern parts of Brooklyn. If you're selling a home that's located south or east of Prospect Park, the Brooklyn multiple listing service can be a good option for you.
HGAR is short for the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, and as the name suggests, they focus primarily on Westchester county. You'll find that some homes in the Bronx are also listed on HGAR, and more importantly, HGAR is part of OneKey, which is trying to become the MLS for NYC.
Multiple Listing Service Long Island is operated by the Long Island Board of realtors. As the name suggests, they focus on Long Island, but also have numerous listings in Queens as well as Brooklyn. MLSI is also part of the newly formed OneKey.
OneKey is a newly formed MLS that was spearheaded by a combined effort from MLSLI and HGAR. Both of these multiple listings services combined their inventory to form OneKey with the intention of launching a consumer-facing website for all New York City real estate listings. As such, OneKey has coverage all throughout NYC, but they're lacking inventory in Manhattan. With this in mind, OneKey has made a strong effort to attract new membership from REBNY firms. So far though, the majority of REBNY members have refrained from joining OneKey.
The Staten Island Board of Realtors operates its own multiple listing services. It's the place to go for Staten Island Real Estate, but they have virtually no inventory elsewhere in NYC.
The Manhattan MLS is a multiple listings service that is operated by MANAR, which is short for the Manhattan Association of Realtors. This MLS seems to be on its last legs, and will likely be defunct in the near term.
So What's the Best MLS in NYC?
It really depends on what area you're looking to buy or sell a home, but if we want to be technical about it, the REBNY RLS is the dominant multiple listing service for New York City. They dominate the heart of the city and also see more sales volume than any of the other local MLS providers. It's also important to note that many REBNY member firms will also have membership in other multiple listing services such as OneKey or the NY State MLS.