The Zillow-owned New York real estate portal StreetEasy has announced that it will be launching a new augmented reality tool that will allow home-hunters to shop for their next place to live while out and about on the city's streets.
Dubbed StreetScape, the new tool will be available to users of StreetEasy's iOS app and will allow users to scan a street to reveal floating icons in front of residential buildings. Users can then click the icons to see more about the building and its amenities, discover listings available on StreetEasy, and view photos, floor plans, and virtual tours of the building’s units.
According to a recent StreetEasy poll, some 79% of New York residents had pulled up listings on the portal while out and about in the city and the new feature is designed to make that process easier and more engaging.
“We’ve all experienced it: you walk by a building and immediately wonder what it would be like to live there and whether that’s even a real possibility,” said Peter Lim, StreetEasy product manager. “We are building StreetScape to marry the digital and physical experience of home shopping in New York, a crucial step toward getting that level of confidence you need to make a move on a new home. Having that information immediately at your fingertips when you’re in front of a building will help home shoppers act fast, which is especially key in today’s competitive market.”
The new functionality, which according to a press release will be available before the summer, is similar in scope to the flagship featute of one of Zillow's rivals. In the words of Homesnap's SVP of Product Lou Mintzer (who spoke to Online Marketplaces back in November)
"consumers can walk up to any property, whether on or off the market, and take a picture of the house to instantly load all MLS property details, or historical MLS data if the property is off-market. Both agents and consumers can use this feature."
Since being bought out by CoStar in 2020 for $250 million, Homesnap and the rest of CoStar's nascent residential division has been on a mission to take a big slice of the residential market that Zillow operates in. The launching of a new functionality similar to what Homesnap does may be a tacit admission on Zillow's part that its new rival has bought well and means business.