CEO’s Message: Do New Communities Require a Newer Version MLS?

Jim Harrison: MLSListings Inc CEO and President

Jim Harrison
President and CEO, MLSListings

Master planned communities were the stuff aspirations were built around, with their stylized housing, golf courses, bike paths and jogging trails. They once marked the end stage of single city life and a move to the ‘burbs for good schools and yards.

As predicted, these communities have changed. In Urban Land magazine nearly ten years ago, several master planned community experts predicted builders would have to create smaller, niche villages to meet the needs of a diverse population; diversity of lifestyles, cultures, work balance and other contemporary conditions.  We see these niche communities as they sprout up around us. While they cross traditional real estate definitions, they also cross zip codes and traditional area descriptions. This can be challenging for brokers, agents, and the MLS as we continue to support the master planned communities of old.

In a recent meeting of the MLSListings Super Users and Review Group, (SURG), we heard first-hand how MLS fields do not accommodate these new border-crossing communities. As one agent put it, “these are not traditional subdivisions, these are fully developed communities.” The niche communities are designed to bring people together in work, entertainment, living, school and fine dining. Buyers often want to search for homes within a niche community. While we offer search fields for subdivision names, we have not yet visited the issue of communities in a big way.

The MLSs of today were created during the advent of the internet and they slayed the old MLS books. I wonder if it’s time for another substantial change in MLSs, and maybe our technology platform should conform to the norms of the day.

I welcome your thoughts!

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