For most New Yorkers, the search for housing is the least favorite part of the New York experience. If the size is right, the price is wrong; if the price is right, the neighborhood's wrong. And then there's that hideous bathtub in the kitchen. In an area as popular and populous as metropolitan New York, finding a unit that meets all your needs is darn near impossible. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) hopes to change all that.
Founded in 1896, REBNY began as the state's first real estate trade association, created in response to New York's 1890s building boom, which was necessitated by the mass influx of people and businesses into the area. Since then, REBNY's ranks have grown to include not just brokers but 12,000 owners, builders, managers, banks, insurance companies, pension funds, real estate investment trusts, utilities, attorneys, architects, marketing professionals and other important real estate players.
REBNY's mission is to promote industry policies to the public and to legislators. The organization strives to encourage the development and renovation of commercial and residential real property, and enhance the city's appeal to investors and residents.
The association is governed by a 100-person Board of Governors headed by a chairperson. The membership is divided into six divisions organized by function: The Owners and Builders Division, consisting of several committees involved in the construction process; The Commercial Brokerage Division, whose members study and exchange information on demands for commercial space, prevailing market rates and neighborhood trends; The Residential Brokerage Division, which deals with the sale and rental of residential property; The Management Division, which includes leading commercial and residential property managers and advocates on building codes and regulatory issues; The Allied and Associates Division, which is composed of companies and individuals who perform services or provide products for the real estate industry; and The Institutional Owners Division, which gives institutions such as banks, investment houses, insurance companies and pension funds an opportunity to shape public policy. The four largest divisions are governed by their own board of directors.
"For the most part, our members are extraordinarily civic-minded," says Marolyn Davenport, REBNY senior vice president. "Their thinking is, 'if it's good for the city, it's good for the industry.'"