MLSs in North America Are the Envy of the World

Oct 24, 2023 Michael Wurzer

As legal and regulatory debates rage on in the United States over the value of multiple listing services (MLSs), a panel at the RESO conference in San Diego, called Crossing Continents: Global Standards Expansion, shared that the way MLSs aggregate and distribute real estate data is, in fact, the envy of the world. The panelists also shared how different countries in Europe, South America, and elsewhere across the globe are using RESO standards to build real estate software, and that development effort also is making it clear that these other countries would benefit from the data aggregation and quality practices of North American MLSs.

One of the panelists, Gissele Abadi, the CTO of Realtyna, said that in Europe, one or two portals typically dominate in each country, but the data in those portals is not accurate. The primary accuracy problems are duplicate and out-of-date listings. Because of these concerns, there’s a rising interest in Europe to form mutliple listing services (MLS) to increase data aggregation and accuracy.

To this end, the European Association of Real Estate Professionals (CEPI) is holding a conference called the International MLS Forum and has invited the CEOs of both RESO (Sam DeBord) and CMLS (Denee Evans) to give a joint keynote address at the conference to educate attendees about the benefits and operation of MLSs in North America.

As noted at the top of this post, this interest in forming MLSs in other parts of the world stands in stark contrast to the debates raging in the US about the value of MLSs. So let’s be clear: What organized real estate in the US has created is unique value that is critical to making the real estate market work. Without MLSs, consumers will have less understanding of the real estate market and there will be less competition. Moreover, the cost of marketing will be significantly higher as it is in Europe, Australia, and other countries dominated by monopoly portals that can set prices for advertising, whereas in the United States, advertising on portals is nearly free.

As the Vice Chair of RESO, I’m super excited by the international interest in RESO and MLSs, and look forward to seeing how this interest expands in the coming years to help real estate markets work better all over the world.