Pierre Shirley, president of the Realtors Association of Jamaica, indicates that the association is close to signing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) which has expressed interest in its Multiple Listing Service (MLS) platform as a data source.
Speaking at the annual general meeting of the RAJ in January 2022, Shirley stated that completion of the MOU was high on the association’s agenda. Another RAJ source told the Jamaica Observer that the platform will be used by the BOJ for listing and sales activity data.
Realtors in Jamaica are engaged in the sale of property, a multi-billion-dollar industry which reportedly grew in size under pandemic conditions when investors were seeking to diversify assets.
The RAJ, meanwhile, disclosed that it has added 200 members in the last administrative period, a double-digit improvement in membership which officials attributed to a surge of interest in real estate as an industry. Consequently, the RAJ increased its surplus by $5 million above the year prior, arising chiefly from subscription and application fees.
Shirley said that the RAJ would continue to focus on the improvement of MLS and integrity of data, “which are important as we move towards the MOU.”
In 2010 the RAJ launched the MLS providing all members and subscribers with listings of for sale/rent with price quotes in United States dollars, pounds sterling and Jamaican dollars.
The MLS was designed to make property listings available to a wider audience of brokers, agents, appraisers, buyers and renters. The roll-out of the service was backed by a $4-million marketing initiative, co-sponsored by the RAJ and Realty International from which it had purchased rights.
The RAJ has already paid for the customisation of the software for the new real estate marketing tool.
The platform started with 230 realtor members and has grown since attracting significant subscription fees.
On the system is an online facility where properties for rent or sale can be viewed with accompanying details such as the property’s location, age, size, amenities, conditions of sale, and proximity to social, commercial and recreational facilities and services.
Now sixty years old, the platform is an important feature of the real estate market in Canada and the United States and is said to account for 95 per cent of property sales in those countries. Locally, the RAJ states that the MLS offers optimum market exposure for and improves market efficiency.