The Real Deal New York

Zillow sees 22% boost in Q1 revenue

Premier Agent program also jumped 22% year-over-year
By Meenal Vamburkar | May 07, 2018 06:38PM

Spencer Rascoff

Zillow Group saw a 22 percent increase in revenue in the first quarter, largely driven by its Premier Agent business.

Revenue totaled just under $300 million the listings giant said on its quarterly earnings call Monday. The Premier Agent program, which accounted for 71 percent of revenue, also saw a 22 percent year-over-year jump. The net loss for the quarter was about $18.6 million.

“The Premier Agent business is growing fast and is still dramatically under-penetrated relative to its overall potential,” CEO Spencer Rascoff said in a statement.

At the same time, the program has come under fire in New York, where regulators are questioning if it violates the state’s advertising laws. Regulators are negotiating with Zillow’s StreetEasy on the issue, and the Department of State is expected to issue formal guidance on it.

Zillow’s approach to Premier Agent in New York is consistent with its approach to the program broadly, Rascoff said during the earnings call.

Zillow, which has a market capitalization of about $10 billion, also launched direct participation in the Instant Offers marketplace in April. Through the program, the company will purchase a home, make touchups and minor repairs and put it back on the market. The program will help boost Premier Agent business and will be rolled out broadly “as quickly as makes sense,” Rascoff said on the call.

The company is also facing management changes, with CFO Kathleen Philips’ retiring effective May 31. Philips will remain chief legal officer for the rest of the year and serve in an advisory role for two years to help with the transition. Zillow is working with a recruiting firm to find a replacement.