Have you been watching Zillow.com lately, in the press? They’ve done a nice job at selling the mainstream media that they are the “real estate statistics” firm of choice. With the introduction of Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, they are aggregating real-time live quotes and are positioned to trump other media sites for accurate mortgage rates reporting.
I”ve admitted that I’m a Zillow-phile. As a mortgage wonk, I love the data they gather and the reports they publish. I read Spencer Raskoff’s Active Rain Blog, weekly. I’m constantly comparing my terms offerings to the realistic quotes on ZMM (I’m a few hundred bucks more expensive but a helluva lot cheaper than the average quote-ask me why sometime). Their Zestimates are getting more accurate as they rewrite their algorithms and gather more market data. As a reporting service, Zillow could and should take the national lead.
Lately, I’m starting to see Zillow try to emerge as an advisory firm of sorts which is fascinating to me. I’m not speculating here, watch what’s happening:
I started reading Spencer’s blog with this post about trading commissions; I realized that we had a common background and that we probably speak the same language. This recommendation confirmed that thought.
This was the first time I saw Zillow offering its data as analysis, by Zillow economist Stan Humphries. Then, Spencer Raskoff suggested that Zillow would have prevented the rampant speculation, from 2004-6. Interviews on Bloomberg, radio shows, and CNBC, all “reporting” about the rapid decline, with really cool granular data. Most recently, I spotted Spencer on Bloomberg, reporting about the decline and offering his prognostication about the market. Today, Spencer took a well-deserved pot shot at the NAR economists.
Silly Active Rain chatter? I think not. It’s my opinion that Zillow.com is fashioning itself as the econometrics firm for real estate, I call it “REconometerics” just to give it a name. Where will they take that “new” product? They can:
- Publish the data, like a newspaper, as interesting content for readers,so that Zillow can sell more ads.
- They can create an investment advisory service, helping wealthy landowners properly manage their real estate assets.
- They can create a research service/newsletter, destined to become an industry standard.
Maybe I’m wrong but I’m watching the wonks at Zillow start to make market predictions. I’d like to see them publish their predictions rather than criticize the other economists. We can start right here, on BloodhoundBlog Radio.Related posts: