Multiple Listing Services in Austin and San Antonio consider merging
Austin and San Antonio Boards of REALTORS® consider combining MLS systems to enhance service to members throughout the region
AUSTIN and SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Feb. 23, 2017 – The Austin Board of REALTORS® and the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® today announced the two associations are exploring the possibility of merging their Multiple Listing Services (MLSs) into one, single MLS to serve the region.
While still in the feasibility phase, this consideration has emerged amid rapid development throughout the Central and South Texas areas, further blending Austin and San Antonio. In addition, it is driven by changing dynamics in the real estate industry, including opportunities to leverage cooperation and technology to create order across the marketplace, enhance offerings for REALTOR® members and maintain affordable rates for subscribers.
“MLSs are entering an era of consolidation due to many factors, including the fact that previously distinct geographic areas are now growing together, like Austin and San Antonio,” said Paul Hilgers, CEO of the Austin Board of REALTORS®. “Our members are seeing that convergence and reflecting it in their business strategies, expanding agents and offices throughout the region, who are leveraging technology to do business far beyond traditional geographic boundaries. So, as the stewards of one of their most important business tools, our collective Boards of Directors are exploring how we could best enable that growth for our members.”
To investigate the possible merger, each association has dedicated a task force of key leaders to propose a framework for the potential entity and to test the value of what the merged MLS could offer its respective membership bases. To facilitate those discussions, the organizations have engaged Mitchell Skinner of Larson Skinner PLLC, who has consulted on similar initiatives throughout the country. Conversations are ongoing and no permanent decisions have been made.
“We realize that our members need a long-term solution to best serve their clients in both areas. Though this is still in the exploration phase, we are eager to evaluate any opportunity to provide the tools our members need to keep up with the demands in an increasingly mobile and tech-driven marketplace,” said Angela Shields, President and CEO of the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®.
In addition to more actively fueling regional growth for members, the task forces exploring this possibility are also considering the industry implications of a joint entity that would create one of the larger MLSs in the country. Specifically, the potential benefits of increased buying power, expanded industry influence and a cohesive dataset for the region are under consideration.
As they proceed, the two organizations will continue their discussions around the feasibility of merging the two MLSs with a focus around a shared vision for the future of the region and industry. Pending the outcome of those discussions, the task forces involved will determine whether to make recommendations to their respective Boards of Directors to further consider an MLS merger.