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Ian Morris

Zillow may get a lot of the attention in Seattle’s burgeoning online real estate arena, recently celebrating the one-year anniversary of its IPO and boasting a market value of more than $1 billion.

But there’s another story emerging in the online real estate circles that has gone somewhat unnoticed. Just as Zillow has nearly doubled its stock price since going public at $20 per share last July, Kirkland-based Market Leader’s stock is on a rapid ascent. The stock is up 40 percent in the past three months, and up 94 percent on the year.

Of course, Market Leader —  the 12-year-old online real estate company formerly known as HouseValues  — is starting at a much lower base with a market value of $137 million. But the company is making strides, highlighted today in the company’s second quarter earnings report.

Market Leader posted $11 million in revenue, marking a 33 percent gain and its 10th consecutive quarter of revenue growth. It also chopped its net loss, while turning an adjusted EBITDA profit. The company’s ActiveRain social networking community topped more than 300,000 real estate professionals, and Market Leader claims more than 100,000 users of its software.

Financial analysts almost were gushing on the earnings call today as they congratulated CEO Ian Morris on the quarter.

And despite new-found competition from Zillow, which is rapidly expanding into Market Leader’s territory, Morris remains bullish on the prospects going forward. He said the company will continue to invest in what he sees as a $29 billion market for real estate marketing and technologies, citing specifically the company’s optimism around its Sharper Agent marketing technologies.

“The last thing I’d want to do is not invest to go after that full market,” said Morris on the call. “We see the opportunity to be many, many times our current size. So, look for us to continue to invest.”

Shares of both Market Leader (in red) and Zillow (in blue) have been on the rise so far this year.
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