The U.S. challenger real estate portal Realtor.com saw revenues decrease 17% in the first three months of 2023 as the company struggled with a challenging domestic housing market.
The announcement was made via Newscorp, the Murdoch-owned global media giant which owns Realtor's parent company Move Inc as well as the Australian market leader REA Group.
Move Inc generated $141 million in revenue from January to March, a decline of $41 million on the 2022 comparison period. The company also saw the percentage of that revenue generated from its much heralded 'next-gen-lead-gen' referral model drop to 23% from 28% in the comparison period.
Newscorp reports six operating segments with its 'Digital Real Estate Services' usually the most profitable of those segments. However, the ASX-listed behemoth reported that for the third quarter of the Australian financial year (January to March) its real estate segment (A$ 102 million in EBITDA) had fallen behind the company's Dow Jones professional information business (A$ 109 million in EBITDA).
The U.S. housing market has been affected by high-interest rates and falling inventory levels. According to fierce rival Zillow, total transaction dollars available in the American residential market fell 27% during the first three months of the year compared to 2022.
As such Realtor.com's year-on-year revenue decline of 17% could either be seen as having outperformed the market. For more pessimistic company executives the figures could be seen as having underperformed Zillow which saw revenues drop only 13% in the same period.
Perhaps more disappointing than being beaten by Zillow for Move Inc's CEO David Doctorow might be the lingering "what if" questions from his company's acquisition talks with commercial real estate giant CoStar which ultimately decided not to pay the rumoured $3 billion asking price for Move back in February.