Canada's Condominium Magazine

Zillow swallows Trulia to create giant online real estate service

Online real estate giant Zillow announced today that it has acquired its only serious rival, Trulia, for $3.5 billion in an all-stock transaction. The two US companies will continue to operate under their respective brand names, and together will convincingly dominate the online real estate market in the United States. Zillow, with information on 110 million homes in the US, reported 83 million unique users in June. Trulia reported 54 million users in the same month. Zillow says that the two brands have limited customer overlap; approximately two-thirds of its users do not use Trulia, while half of Trulia’s visitors do not use Zillow.

Describing themselves as “primarily media companies,” both Zillow and Trulia generate most of their revenue through advertising sales to real estate professionals. That revenue has plenty of room to grow, however. At present, the two companies’ revenue represents just 4 per cent of the estimated $12 billion spent by realtors on marketing each year. Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff said that the real potential for revenue growth for the new entity will be in moving real estate marketing from offline to online. He hopes that those agents who still spend their marketing money on brochures and billboards will realize that online marketing is the way to go.

Rascoff also noted that the two companies share “consumer-first philosophies” that will benefit home buyers and sellers. The most important benefit to consumers will likely be the greater availability of real estate market data, housing trend analysis, and forecasts. US home buyers using Zillow and Trulia already enjoy greater access to data about listed homes than their Canadian counterparts, mainly in the price history of the homes for sale. Canada’s largest realtor association, the Toronto Real Estate Board, has been fighting to prevent access to price history data on the ground that it is confidential information.

Canadians have a number of choices for online real estate. The official site of the Canadian Real Estate Association is Realtor.ca, which has listings from all over Canada. All listings are controlled by individual realtors, and the site has quite a lot of information about the property and the neighbourhood, including demographic anaylsis—average household income, age breakdown, education level, languages spoken, number of children. Unlike Trulia, Realtor.ca does not provide crime statistics for the area, nor does it include transit route and commute time information.

Zoocasa is another Canadian option for online real estate shoppers. A lot of its listings require that you sign in first.

 

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