Realtor.com’s slow descent to irrelevancy

With the rise of iBuyers as a powerful new starting point in the consumer journey, realtor.com is yielding the strategic advantage to arch-rival Zillow. Lacking an iBuyer strategy for the past year, realtor.com has fallen further behind in terms of delivering value to consumers and agents. Multiple options to enter the space are available, but the clock is ticking for realtor.com to execute strongly and maintain relevance in a rapidly evolving industry.

Power at the top of the funnel

One of the topics I discussed in my recent Inman Connect presentation was the power companies have at the start of the consumer journey. Real estate portals around the world derive and maintain their dominant positions because they are a consumer's first stop in the home buying and selling process.

In the days before the internet, real estate agents were the starting point. With the launch of Zillow and its Zestimate, portals became the popular starting point for consumers. Opendoor and iBuyers shifted the dynamic by offering instant offers on homes, attracting consumers. Today, a number of iBuyer aggregators and real estate agents are fighting to attract consumers by incorporating instant offer services. I explain further in the quick video clip below.

 
 

In some markets, up to 40 percent of serious home sellers are requesting an instant offer before listing their home! Instant offers are becoming the new Zestimate -- the new, natural starting point for determining a home’s value. And because of this, they are also an existential threat to portals.

The value of seller leads

The iBuyer business model generates a ton of high-intent seller leads: consumers who are interested in moving and request an offer, but don’t sell their home to an iBuyer. In the last three months alone, Zillow generated 69,000 offer requests but only bought 1,500 homes. The remaining leads can be distributed to real estate agents -- a valuable source of new business.

 
 

Today, Zillow Offers is active in 11 markets. Once it expands to 20 markets, Zillow could generate close to 500,000 seller leads annually -- a number that will increase as its national roll-out continues.

Zillow and realtor.com’s traditional lead generation businesses are built around buyer leads. iBuying has become the holy grail of seller leads: popular with consumers, valuable to agents, and of generally high quality. Over time, these leads will become a valuable source of new business for real estate agents, and an additional revenue driver for Zillow.

Using rough estimates, it's clear that the profit potential of seller leads far outweighs that of buying and selling actual homes, with considerably less risk for Zillow.

 
 

Real estate agents partnering with Zillow receive valuable buyer and seller leads. The same partnership with realtor.com yields only buyer leads.

Strategic advantage: Zillow

Each day, Zillow continues building its sustainable competitive advantage by strengthening its leadership position in consumer’s minds as the place to go for an instant offer. Simultaneously, Zillow generates tens-of-thousands of valuable seller leads for its agent customers each month -- a service which realtor.com does not provide.

For a real estate portal’s two most important audiences -- consumers and agents -- Zillow is highly differentiated while realtor.com lags behind.

Realtor.com needs to provide an iBuyer service -- but does not need to buy and sell houses directly -- to compete with Zillow. The logical entry point is a partnership with a national iBuyer (and that iBuyer, by the way, needs an inexpensive source of leads just as much as realtor.com needs an iBuyer service).

Until realtor.com unveils a coherent iBuyer strategy, it will remain at a growing disadvantage to Zillow, and risks further irrelevancy in the evolving battle for consumer eyeballs.


Check out my entire Inman Connect presentation, "iBuying Disrupted: Battle of the Behemoths."

My "iBuying Disrupted" Presentation

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"Only Mike would start a 9 a.m. presentation talking about EBITDA and GAAP financials." – Anonymous Zillow executive

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at Inman Connect Las Vegas -- one of the world's premier real estate conferences. My talk, "iBuying Disrupted: Battle of the Behemoths," was followed on stage by Rich Barton, CEO of Zillow, Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, and Eric Wu, CEO of Opendoor. What a lineup!

Watch the video

 
 

Some of my favorite lines from the presentation:

“There’s a new competitive advantage in town: sustained unprofitability.”

"Red is the new black."

"Agents are the ultimate iBuyer aggregator."

“iBuying is the new Zestimate."

“Companies and agents that win will be the those that empower consumers to make the choice that’s right for them.”

In addition to the video of my presentation, you can also download a copy of my my presentation slides. I'd love to hear your feedback!

4 strategies for agents to stay relevant in the age of iBuyers

New content alert! I'm trying something new: crisp, strategic "quick hits" that offer actionable suggestions. I usually publish evidence-based industry insights, while my consulting work focuses on hands-on strategy and guidance. This is meant to bridge the gap between the two -- let me know what you think!

iBuyers are a rising force in real estate. Companies like Opendoor, Offerpad, and Zillow are collectively spending billions to offer consumers a new way to buy and sell homes. As iBuyers expand nationally, more and more real estate agents and brokers are being faced with a key strategic question: How do we stay relevant in the age of iBuyers?

As overall iBuyer activity exceeds 1,000 home purchases and sales per month in just one market -- Phoenix -- it’s a trend that can't be ignored.

 
 

I’ve conducted deep analysis on iBuyers for the past four years, culminating in the recently released iBuyer Report. Based on that background and my work in the industry, I offer four key strategies agents and brokers should consider when evaluating their response to iBuyers:

Be a trusted advisor. The role of a real estate agent has always been to help guide consumers through the home buying and selling process. An instant, cash offer on a house simply represents a new path to the same end. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a role for an agent; it’s simply another path that needs navigating. And the agent is uniquely placed to be that expert advisor.

Solicit multiple offers. As a trusted advisor who represents the home owner’s best interests, an agent is well-suited to solicit multiple offers on a home from multiple iBuyers, and to present those offers alongside a traditional market sale. The iBuyers’ online processes make it easy to receive multiple offers; the agent can do the work and provide guidance. Each major iBuyer offers partnership programs that pay a referral fee for a successful transaction.

Don’t ignore them. iBuyers are spending millions of dollars each month on direct-to-consumer advertising (TV, radio, and digital). Agents and brokers can’t (and shouldn’t) compete with that spend, and they can’t ignore the fact that consumers are being educated -- on a massive scale -- about iBuyers. Ignoring them won’t make them go away. (In the past two months alone, I’ve been quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and Marketplace -- all doing stories about iBuyers.)

Highlight the power of personal relationships. Real estate agents are people, and iBuyers are corporations. If you’re an agent, highlight the personal relationship you bring to the process. The power of human psychology is incredibly strong in real estate; brokers and agents should use it to their advantage.

iBuyers represent a significant shift in the real estate landscape, but it’s not a zero-sum game. Real estate agents and brokerages can employ specific strategies to stay relevant, highlight their strengths, and maintain their position as a trusted advisor in the center of the transaction.

iBuying is Zestimate 2.0

When Zillow launched in 2006, its Zestimate was its claim to fame.

The Zestimate was a lead generation tool that attracted consumers by giving them a starting point for determining what their home -- or any home -- is worth. It was online, it was fast, and it was easy.

Flash forward more than a decade later, and online valuation tools are a commodity. There are dozens of web sites that will determine a home's estimated value. Zillow’s unique advantage has diminished.

Zillow's strategic necessity

I believe Zillow's guiding strategic principle is that it must be consumers' first destination in the home buying and selling process. Zillow's sustainable competitive advantage lies in its massive audience and strong position at the start of the consumer journey.

In the past, other listing portal competitors were relatively undifferentiated. Zillow has been the clear market leader, and there was no credible threat that could unseat it from its powerful position.

However, the entry of iBuyers with a service that made instant offers on a home – online – was novel and compelling, just like the Zestimate in 2006. Suddenly, more and more consumers were beginning their home selling process not on Zillow, but on other web sites like Opendoor and Offerpad. This was a key existential threat for Zillow.

The iBuyer business model is Zestimate 2.0 – the natural starting point for determining your home’s value. What’s more accurate than an actual offer on your home?

Mass-market appeal

Opendoor's long-term vision is that every home owner will request an instant offer before selling their home. It's a natural starting point: It's easy, it provides value, and there's no commitment. What better way to value your home than an actual offer?

While Zillow only purchases around three percent of the offer requests it receives (that number is higher for the other iBuyers), a very large number of consumers are requesting offers each month. In established markets like Phoenix, anywhere from 25–35 percent of active home sellers request an instant offer before selling their home. The numbers are BIG.

 
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Given the growing mass market appeal of an instant offer (tens of thousands of requests each month) and the simplicity of the process, it's no surprise that Zillow launched its own iBuyer service.

Strategic implications

If you're in the business of providing consumers an estimate of the value of their home, the bar has just been set higher. The inherit power and appeal of the iBuyer model is quite clear:

  • Instant offers are simple, easy, and quick. All online.

  • Instant offers are at the start of the funnel -- they attract consumers at the start of the home buying or selling journey.

  • It's a novel concept that satisfies a consumer need, hence the high proportion of consumers requesting offers.

In other words, iBuying is the new Zestimate.

Zillow's New Strategy: Insights, Implications, and Analysis

Last week, Zillow announced a major strategic shift: Along with a new CEO, it made clear that its top focus is its Zillow Offers iBuyer business.

Today's email covers the highlights of that announcement. Additionally, next week I'll be holding a 60-minute webinar that dives deep into the strategy, numbers, and implications of Zillow's latest move.

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Premier agent growth grinds to a halt

The most striking statistic from Zillow's results is the lack of projected growth in its flagship, billion-dollar premier agent program (which accounts for 67 percent of its revenue). Guidance for the first quarter of 2019 is only 1.5 percent -- a steep decline from past quarters.

 
 

And on a full-year basis, Zillow projects its premier agent program will grow at 2 percent -- a flattening from past, double-digit growth.

 
 

Both of these projections come on the back of difficulties rolling out new premier agent products focused on lead quality over quantity.

But what's most striking is the suddenness of the decline. Going from double-digit to flat growth in the span of a year is significant. More than rollout issues, I believe Zillow has reached the upper limit of what it can charge agents for leads. Which is what's driving such a significant shift in strategy.

Expensive homes and a longer hold time

Last week I wrote about Zillow's unsold inventory in its Offers program, and the significance of longer hold times. The latest data highlights the same challenge.

 
 

The homes Zillow sells are less expensive: an average sale price of $292,000. However, the houses it holds in inventory are considerable more expensive, with an average value of $320,000.

This data point matches up exactly with the latest data from Phoenix, which shows a considerably higher average purchase price for Zillow compared to the other iBuyers.

 
 

The more expensive the home, the higher proportion of unsold inventory. It takes longer to sell more expensive homes, and it looks like Zillow is more than dabbling in the expensive end of the market. This is a key metric to watch!

Profit projections

Zillow released a detailed financial breakdown for its Offers business, including initial profit margins on its sold homes. Adjusted EBITDA, which backs out a number of costs including stock-based compensation, shows a per-home profit margin of 0.6 percent, lower than the stated goal of 2–3 percent.

 
 

(As a form of employee compensation, I believe stock-based compensation should be included in a true EBITDA calculation, so I've provided both options above.)

It's still early days, but this benchmarks current performance compared to where the business needs and wants to go in the future.

Strategic implications

I believe Zillow's guiding strategic principle is that it must be consumers' first destination in the home buying and selling process. Zillow's sustainable competitive advantage lies in its massive audience and strong position at the start of the consumer journey.

Think of this latest move as "Zestimate 2.0." The original Zestimate gave consumers a fun and helpful starting point when thinking about moving or buying a house. Now that online valuations are a commodity, Zillow needs to up the game: Instead of an estimate of value, how about an actual offer on your house? It's a compelling consumer proposition -- even if it simply serves the same purpose as the original Zestimate (attracting consumers at the start of the journey).

There's a whole lot more to discuss! If you want to listen and watch as I dive deep into the subject, register for next week's webinar.

Zillow Offers' most important metric

 
 

Later today, Zillow will announce its fourth quarter and full year 2018 results. Its activity as an iBuyer continues, and it recently overtook Offerpad to become the second-largest iBuyer in Phoenix. But my attention is focused on one key metric: Zillow's ability to quickly sell houses.

Why it matters: Zillow's goal is to hold houses for an average of 90 days. Any successful iBuyer needs to hold houses for as little time as possible, otherwise unsold inventory builds up, finance costs rise, and the whole model starts to blow up.

Overall activity grows; #2 in Phoenix

Zillow's overall iBuyer activity continues to grow, both nationally and in Phoenix (its biggest market). Based on the total number of homes purchased and sold, Zillow overtook Offerpad to claim the #2 spot in Phoenix for the month of January. Zillow is -- for the moment -- the second-largest iBuyer in the important Phoenix market.

 
 

Buying more than it's selling

While Zillow's overall activity continues to rise, its purchases are quickly outpacing sales. This is to be expected in the early months of a new market, but it's now eight months since launch. This is creating a growing inventory of unsold homes: around 350 in Phoenix as of February 12th.

 
 

It's natural for iBuyers to buy more houses than they sell when entering a new market. But over time, this Buy:Sell ratio is a critical metric for any iBuyer. Houses must be sold for the business to work!

Expensive homes, longer hold time

There are early signs that Zillow may be having difficulty selling houses. For iBuyers, time is money. The faster they can turn around and sell a house, the better.

The magic number for total holding time is around three months; Opendoor and Offerpad hold for between 80-100 days. Zillow currently has around 350 unsold houses in its inventory in Phoenix. Of those, it appears that around 110 homes have been owned for more than three months.

Part of the reason Zillow appears to have longer holding times may be the price of the homes it is purchasing. On average, it is buying more expensive homes than the other iBuyers in Phoenix.

 
 

Nationally, Zillow has purchased over 700 homes with an unsold inventory of over 500 homes.

 
 

The more expensive the home, the higher proportion of unsold inventory. It takes longer to sell more expensive homes, and it looks like Zillow is more than dabbling in the expensive end of the market.

Strategic implications

The key metric to watch is how well Zillow can sell its houses. Buying is relatively straight-forward; only once a house is sold is the entire business model complete.

To succeed as an iBuyer and appropriately manage its risk, Zillow needs to hold its houses for a minimum amount of time (on par with the other iBuyers), and avoid building up a large inventory of unsold homes.

It's still early days and Zillow has been quite aggressive in growing as fast as possible. But with its one year anniversary four months away, the pressure is on to demonstrate a consistent ability to buy -- and sell -- houses.

My Inman Connect Presentation

Earlier this month I had the pleasure of presenting at Inman Connect in New York City. My session, "iBuying Goes Mainstream: How Big Can it Get?" covered a range of topics, from the evolving role of portals to the latest iBuyer analysis.

My key points are outlined below. Watch the video of my presentation and download a copy of my presentation slides.

Growing iBuyer traction

The rise of iBuyers continues. During my presentation, I shared some of the latest national data available; a "sneak peak" at my upcoming iBuyer Report.

Opendoor in particular continues its strong growth in terms of houses bought and sold, clearly accelerating in 2018. Overall, iBuyers are small but growing: around 5 percent of the market in Phoenix.

 
 

The consumer journey

If you're an Inman subscriber, you can read the provocatively titled writeup of my presentation, "Opendoor's 'nightmare': KW agents backed by their own iBuyer." To quote:

 His point is that Opendoor, a tech-powered homebuying and selling startup with $1 billion in venture capital, is vulnerable to competition from companies that already connect with consumers on a massive scale at the beginning of their home-buying or selling journey.

Who wins?

The best new business models are exponentially better than the status quo, and the biggest companies are exponentially outspending their competitors.

Whether it's materially better efficiency with models like Redfin and Purplebricks, or Opendoor raising (and spending) 10 times the capital than its nearest competitors, the stakes are big. The trends that are impacting the industry are not incremental.

 
 

My presentation

You can watch the video of my presentation, and download a copy of my my presentation slides. I'd love to hear your feedback!

Zillow's billion dollar seller lead opportunity

Last week, Zillow announced its latest financial results, and the stock dropped 25 percent (losing $2 billion in value). But the story everyone is missing is the Zillow Offers iBuying business, and the huge potential of seller leads.

Why it matters: Last week I was quoted on MarketWatch saying, “If you’re thinking about Zillow doing iBuying and you’re not thinking about seller leads, you’re thinking about it the wrong way.” Seller leads are the real billion dollar opportunity.

Slowing premier agent growth

Here's the reason why Zillow's stock tanked 25 percent last week, in one chart:

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Zillow's premier agent program accounts for over 70 percent of its revenue, or nearly $1 billion. Growth is slowing down. I'm not sure why this surprised anyone on Wall Street; I've been writing about it since early this year (Zillow's revenue growth slows and Zillow's strategic shift to iBuying and mortgages). I believe it's the primary reason Zillow has aggressively expanded into adjacent businesses.

The value of seller leads

Zillow's iBuyer business continues to grow, and the latest results crystalize the opportunity in seller leads.

Zillow says that since launch, nearly 20,000 homeowners have taken direct action on its platform to sell their home. Of those, it has purchased just about 1 percent of homes (around 200). That leaves about 19,800 leads who remain interested in selling their homes.

If Zillow simply sold those leads at $100 a pop, they're worth nearly $2 million.

But the real opportunity is giving those leads to premier agents in exchange for an industry-standard referral fee, about 1 percent, if the property sells (similar to the Opcity business model).

Here's the kicker: Zillow claims about 45 percent of consumers that go through the Zillow Offers funnel end up listing their home. That's a high conversion rate reflective of a high intent to sell; about 10 times higher than Opcity's conversion rate.

Assuming a 1 percent referral fee, a $250,000 home, and a conversion rate of 45 percent, those 19,800 leads are worth $22 million in revenue to Zillow, almost all profit.

Compare that to the estimated profit of its iBuyer business (1.5 percent net profit), which, on 200 houses, is $750,000. The value of the seller leads is worth almost 30 times the profit from flipping houses!

Total addressable market

Zillow says that based on its current purchase criteria, if Zillow Offers were available in the top 200 metro areas in the U.S., sellers of nearly half of the homes sold in 2017 across the entire nation would have been eligible to receive offers from it to buy their home directly. That equates to around 2.75 million homes annually.

Last quarter, Zillow said that it received offer requests from around 15 percent of the total for-sale stock in the Phoenix market. Interestingly, that number increased to 25 percent in September and 35 percent in October. That's a reflection of the strong lead generation power of Zillow Offers across its various web properties.

Based on these numbers, if Zillow goes national (200 metro areas) and sees 35 percent of the for-sale stock, it would receive 962,500 offer requests each year.

The billion dollar opportunity

Taking the latest numbers, which have been validated to the tune of 20,000 offer requests over five months in two markets, the total opportunity becomes clear with a national rollout.

Seller leads can be a billion dollar business for Zillow if you believe the current numbers. Even if a national conversion rate is lower, or the % of for-sale stock fluctuates, it's still worth several hundred million dollars in revenue annually.

Should Zillow even buy houses?

Given the value of the seller leads, should Zillow even be in the business of buying houses? Yes, if it wants a credible product for consumers. The real question is: What proportion of houses should Zillow actually buy?

Zillow's "big picture" is 5 percent national market share, which equates to buying around 10 percent of all offer requests (it is currently buying around 1 percent of offer requests). At a 1.5 percent net margin, that's around $1 billion in profit.

But to reach that scale, Zillow would need to spend $68 billion to purchase 275,000 houses annually. Assuming an average holding time of 90 days, it would need a credit line of $17 billion to fund the effort. Big numbers.

A more realistic target would be to only purchase around 1 percent of requests. Nationally, that would be 27,500 homes, which is only around double what Opendoor is currently doing, so it's feasible.

In any case, the point is clear: Zillow doesn't need to actually buy and sell a lot of houses for this model to generate significant profits for the company in a national rollout.

Strategic implications

Zillow is a lead generation machine, and its recent foray into iBuying is no exception. 

If you're in the industry and your value proposition to agents is seller lead generation, there's a new game in town. Zillow will be able to generate a massive volume of seller leads with higher intent than almost any other source. If successful, this will have significant implications across the industry.

Further analysis

If you're looking to dive deeper into the world of iBuyers, consider the following:

Opendoor's pivot to agents

According to a report on Inman, Opendoor is launching a new preferred agent partnership program where it is co-listing a growing portion of its for sale properties with partner agents.

Why it matters: This is a significant pivot for Opendoor, aligning it closer to agents in a major way. It signals that working with the traditional industry -- rather than trying to disrupt it -- is an important part of its growth strategy.

Working with agents

Opendoor's new preferred agent partnership program brings the company much closer to agents. As opposed to the company's hallmark of buying and selling direct to consumers, with a do-it-yourself open home model, this latest move represents a big pivot.

Before this program was announced, the way Opendoor sold its homes was fairly uniform: it would list direct without an agent, offer self-guided tours, brand everything Opendoor, and not pay seller agent fees since it was selling direct. But things have changed:

An unknown question is how Opendoor is compensating co-listing agents. There are three possibilities, listed in order of likelihood:

  • The agent receives a referral fee (likely 1 percent) for representing Opendoor.

  • The agent receives a fixed fee ($1,000) for representing Opendoor.

  • The agent receives no direct compensation, but benefits from potential leads while hosting open homes.

Why the pivot?

This is a big move for Opendoor, and it would only make a change if there was a business benefit.

Opendoor is moving towards an agent-centric model, where it's co-listing and co-branding with a traditional real estate agent (and the traditional process it is aiming to disrupt). That's a non-trivial shift. And assuming Opendoor is compensating co-listing agents as outlined above, there's a significant economic shift as well.

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Opendoor is in the business of buying and selling houses. So any pivot must enhance that capability, leading to two possible reasons for the change:

  • Sell more houses, faster.

  • Attract more agents representing sellers (buy more houses).

For a co-listing arrangement to make business sense, it must enable Opendoor to buy or sell more houses. Either its existing process isn't quite where Opendoor wants it to be, or there's an external reason to cozy up to agents...

The Zillow factor

There's one other factor to consider, and that's the relatively recent arrival of Zillow to the iBuyer game. As a reminder, Zillow's angle is to include agents in each step of the process, using its premier agent network to represent all sides of the transaction.

Opendoor's latest move puts it squarely at parity with Zillow in terms of agent involvement and the value proposition for agents.

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Now, if you're an agent, the benefits of working with Opendoor are the same as working with Zillow. For Opendoor to make this degree of change, and give up image and economic value in order to appeal to agents, it must really want to work with agents!

Strategic implications

There's a long history of would-be real estate disruptors that attempted to disintermediate the traditional industry, only to change their minds and pivot back.

It's hard to go against real estate agents. There's just so many of them, and psychologically consumers want to keep using them. Many disruptors start with anti-agent tendencies but eventually come back to the fold. It's easier and more profitable to work with the industry than against it.

This is not a full-scale retreat on Opendoor's part; far from it. But it's the strongest signal yet of the importance of agents to its current growth strategy.

Zillow, Opendoor, and controlling the consumer journey

Last week I conducted the iBuyer Intelligence Briefing -- a conference call on the latest iBuyer news, trends, and insights -- with listeners from around the world.

After the call, one particular question lingered: Which part of the industry controls the starting point of the real estate transaction, portals or iBuyers? Who has the advantage, and what are the implications for iBuyers?

Zillow's lead generation machine

Zillow announced its Zillow Offers program in Phoenix earlier this year, and started buying houses in May. It is heavily promoting the program across its site. While looking in the Phoenix market, a prominent message is displayed on all active for sale listings.

 
 

And if a visitor looks at an off-market listing (like their own home), this is the call-out at the top of the listing.

 
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In its latest quarterly results, Zillow revealed how effective the promotion was: "Since launch, we have received more than 10,000 offer requests from potential sellers." And: "...in Phoenix, for example, we are seeing about 15% of all dollar value that's being sold in Phoenix any given month." That translates to about 1,600 offer requests per month.

Opendoor is on record saying that more than "one in two sellers who received an Opendoor offer" will accept it. It's currently buying around 300 houses per month in Phoenix, so that's about 600 offers made per month.

 
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There's a difference between an offer being requested, and an offer being made. What's clear, though, is that Zillow is generating a massive amount of offer requests each month, at volumes that rival (and exceed) Opendoor.

Most importantly, Zillow's leads are coming with zero incremental customer acquisition cost, while Opendoor and other iBuyers must advertise directly to consumers to generate leads.

The Zillow effect

The ultimate question is whether Zillow's entry into the market is having an effect on Opendoor. Is Zillow soaking up demand from consumers, to the detriment of Opendoor?

 
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The chart above shows a clear picture: the number of homes that Opendoor is purchasing in Phoenix has plateaued. But there are two possible explanations for what's going on:

  • Zillow is having an effect on Opendoor's traction in Phoenix by soaking up consumer demand.

  • Opendoor is slowing its buying activity for other reasons (we've seen this before).

It's too early to say if Zillow is having a direct effect on Opendoor's business in Phoenix. Opendoor may slow its buying activity for a variety of other reasons, namely a potential market slowdown.

But what's clear is the leading position Zillow holds in the consumer journey and its massive reach give it a competitive advantage in acquiring customers -- which has long-term consequences.

Strategic implications

Back in February, I wrote the following: "The most logical response from a major player such as Realogy or Keller Williams would be to launch their own iBuyer program." Which is exactly what happened last week. More competition is coming to the market.

As incumbents, portals, and other new entrants enter the iBuyer market, they have the potential to soak up consumer demand and adversely effect Opendoor's business.

But for Zillow in particular, the evidence is clear: Real estate portals are in pole position to capture consumer demand for iBuying services, because they are at the start of the consumer journey. Will other global portals follow Zillow's lead?