Anyone in the market for a home in 2013 knows how to surf the web to find listings. In fact, most of us find it not just enjoyable to browse homes online, but also educational — we can get a sense for home values in our areas or find neighborhoods where inventory is particularly abundant or scarce.
So it’s no surprise that when Zillow (Z) priced its 2011 IPO at $20, investors were clamoring to get a piece of this online real estate listing company. Zillow shares gapped up more than 70% on their first day of trading and never looked back, currently trading for around $60 a share.
Real estate agents are still very popular, with a March report from BusinessWeek stating that 89% of transactions continue to go through conventional brokers. But that same report said 42% of buyers found their property online on their own vs. 34% finding the property via an agent.
Will some folks continue to use a real estate agent because of their knowledge of the market or because they’re afraid of facing the daunting task of purchasing their first home alone? Absolutely.
However, it’s naïve to think this profession isn’t threatened by the ease of use and abundance of information that goes along with Internet real estate listings.
Throw in a recovering housing market, and Zillow should continue to disrupt its way to big profits for investors in years ahead.