According to the Australian Financial Review, Australia-based investors have increased their shareholding in US-based real estate platform Zillow to 40 per cent from 30 per cent last year as the company’s pool of data and potential growth out-muscles any attempts by the likes of Facebook to break into the property market.
Zillow’ CEO Spencer Rascoff, whose visit to the Australian investor base in Sydney coincides with the listing of Fairfax Media spin-off Domain Holdings on Thursday, said it was Zillow’s powerful data that would fend off any competition and help fuel the 25 per cent year-on-year revenue growth it has been reporting.
“Data is the new oil. It is the store of currency and the creator of value for companies in the 21st century,” Mr Rascoff said, “And our Australian investors identified that. More people in the US type the word ‘Zillow’ into Google than type the word ‘real estate’ into Google. Zillow is now a verb.”
“What differentiates us from any other sites you see is that there’s a price on every rooftop – even if its not for sale.”
Zillow has gathered a collected pool of data on every single home in the US – about 110 million – and has a daily price estimate called a “zestimate” on each of them. This core data, presented like a Google satellite map, attracts more than 175 million average monthly unique users and buyers’ agents are now clambering to pay Zillow a collective $800 million a year just for the right to have their details near properties in the hope of being the conduit for a sale.
Current houses listed for sale on Zillow are only about 3 million (some even indicate foreclosures), but in the US the real estate system works differently to Australia with buyers doing a lot more of the work to trigger a home sale and get it into the market. There, commissions on sales are paid by the buyers not the vendors.
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