Zillow revenue soars — but so do losses

Listings giant lost $62M in Q1
By E.B. Solomont | May 09, 2019 04:39PM

Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

Zillow CEO Rich Barton (Credit: iStock)

Zillow Group revenue soared 51 percent during 2019’s first quarter, bolstered by the company’s growing iBuying program, the company reported Thursday.

But the company’s net loss also ballooned to $67.5 million, compared to $18.6 million a year ago. Its total revenue for the quarter rose to $454.1 million, up from $299.8 million a year prior. Revenue from its advertising program Premier Agent rose 2 percent to $217.7 million.

The bulk of Zillow’s losses during the quarter were in its Homes segment, which includes Zillow Offers.

In a statement, co-founder and CEO Rich Barton said Zillow Offers has experienced “incredible consumer demand.” Its “rapid growth gives us confidence we’re in the early stages of something important,” he said.

The Seattle-based listings giant — which entered the iBuying fray last year — said it sold 414 homes during the first quarter, a 200 percent year-over-year jump. Those deals brought in $128.5 million in revenue.

Zillow purchased 898 homes during the quarter and is planning to launch in six more markets by the end of next year’s first quarter.

During an earnings call with investors, Barton — who returned as Zillow’s CEO during the first quarter — said the company’s “daring plan to transform the real estate transaction” is beginning to come together.

He said during the first quarter, the company received more than 35,000 seller requests — roughly one every two minutes. “And that demand is rapidly accelerating,” he said. To date, Zillow is still only buying 3 percent to 4 percent of the homes it considers.

But with plans to expand Zillow Homes, the Seattle-based listings giant projected revenue for the iBuying program would reach $230 million to $245 million during the second quarter. In conjunction with its earnings, Zillow said Thursday it would expand to Austin, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa within the next year. It’s already in Las Vegas, Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte and Raleigh.

Within three to five years, Zillow’s target is to buy 5,000 homes a month — an opportunity it says represents $20 billion in revenue.