“Alexa, find me an apartment.” Amazon wades into home sales

Online retailer briefly posted a "Hire a Realtor" landing page

The "Hire a Realtor" landing page and Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images)
The "Hire a Realtor" landing page and Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images)

Zillow Group has steamrolled its competition in recent years, gobbling up smaller firms in its wake. But the real estate giant may soon meet its match.

On Tuesday, Amazon teased a new service that would connect customers to real estate agents when it posted a “Hire a Realtor” landing page on its site, along with a banner that read “Coming Soon.” The landing page prompted visitors to key in their zip codes, and appeared in Amazon’s home and business services section, which refers customers to home improvement professionals.

Amazon took the website down around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, HousingWire reported.

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The new venture would go head-to-head with Zillow as well as Redfin, both based in Seattle. Redfin recently disclosed plans to raise $100 million in an IPO. The online real estate brokerage saw revenue jump to $267.2 million last year but is still losing money.

Zillow, meanwhile, saw revenue swell to $846 million last year even as it posted a loss of $220 million in 2016. Nationally, its main revenue driver is Premier Agent, which lets buyer’s agents advertise on listings. The feature, which has roiled the New York City brokerage world since it debuted here on StreetEasy in March, accounted for 71 percent of Zillow’s revenue — or $604 million — in 2016, up from $447 million in 2015.

Even as it broadens its online offerings, Amazon has been expanding further into brick-and-mortar. The company, which has a market cap of nearly $500 billion, acquired Whole Foods for $13 billion last month and is opening another bookstore at 72 Spring Street in Soho.
[HousingWire] E.B. Solomont