Following a year in which home-buying services went virtual, Zillow has struck a deal to buy an online home-tour scheduler.
The listings giant has struck a deal to buy ShowingTime.com, a home tour scheduler, for $500 million, the companies said Wednesday. ShowingTime coordinates home-showing schedules for a network of nearly 1 million agents and hundreds of multiple listing services.
The deal coincides with a record quarter for Zillow. The Seattle-based listings giant reported record profits in the fourth quarter of 2020, with $46 million in net income with $789 million in revenue. It lost $101 million during the same period the prior year.
In what CEO Rich Barton described as the “scariest of roller-coaster rides that was 2020,” Zillow’s full-year revenue soared 22 percent to $3.3 billion, compared to $2.7 billion in 2019. It lost $162 million for the year, down from $305 million after it temporarily suspended home-buying, a capital intensive business, during the first half of the year.
By summer, home sales surged and Zillow was among the beneficiaries of the tide shift.
U.S. home sales hit a record high last year, according to the National Association of Realtors. NAR data showed 5.64 million homes traded hands in 2020, up 5.6 percent from 2019 and the highest level since 2006.
Zillow was among those homebuyers. After pausing iBuying, Zillow purchased 1,789 homes during the fourth quarter and sold 923.
During an earnings call Wednesday, Barton said iBuying is still a “really, really” small part of the market. “But in Zillow offers are the seeds of the future, of a streamlined transaction,” he said. Put another way, he said Zillow’s goal is to give customers a “one-click, trade-in nirvana.”
With many people stuck at home, traffic to Zillow’s mobile apps and websites hit a record 201 million average monthly unique users during the fourth quarter, up 16 percent year over year. It had a record 9.6 billion visits for the full year, up 19 percent year over year.
“Fantasizing about real estate is not new,” but remote work has untethered people from their offices,” Barton said. “Most of them now have the freedom to move.”