Zillow Group crushed projections for revenue but posted greater losses than expected amid rapid growth in its new home sales and mortgages segments, in the first quarter of a new era for the Seattle real estate heavyweight.
Investors are excited about the company’s progress, as its stock shot up nearly 15 percent in the minutes after Zillow’s financial update was released.
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In February, Zillow dropped the stunning announcement that it would shift its business model to focus primarily on buying and selling homes directly. Leading that charge is Zillow co-founder Rich Barton, who took over the CEO job from Spencer Rascoff.
Today’s numbers provide insight on how quickly the company is shifting the business to meet some lofty goals. Zillow set its sights on achieving $20 billion in revenue in the next three to five years, and to get there the company plans on purchasing 5,000 houses per month, or roughly 15,000 per quarter.
Zillow purchased 898 houses in the quarter, and revenue was about 10 percent of what the company would need to be to get to the $20 billion annual number. However, all these metrics are growing rapidly.
Zillow is doubling down on Zillow Offers, the online homebuying and selling operation it kicked off just over a year ago. Zillow will bring the feature, which allows users to get quick offers on their homes directly from Zillow, to Austin, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa by early 2020. Those six markets will bring the program to a total of 20 cities by early next year.
Here are is a look at some of the company’s primary metrics, as well as the numbers that will become more important in years to come.
Revenue: Zillow brought in $454.1 million in revenue, good for 51 percent year-over-year growth and well ahead of analyst expectations. The company’s legacy businesses saw small growth, but revenue from home sales more than tripled in just the last quarter, with mortgage revenue rising fast as well.
Profit: Zillow posted a net loss of $67.5 million for the quarter, more than triple losses from a year ago. Zillow reported losses of $0.33 per share, against expectations of $0.18 per share lost.
The Homes segment, which includes the Zillow Offers homebuying and selling operation, was responsible for $34.5 million in losses.
Traditional businesses: Zillow’s bread and butter of real estate agent advertising and other internet and media businesses brought in $298.3 million revenue, up 6 percent over last year. Premier Agent, the program that lets real estate brokers buy ads on Zillow’s network of websites, putting them front and center for customers who are searching for homes, saw only 2 percent year-over-year revenue growth.
A year ago, Premier Agent made up roughly 71 percent of the company’s total revenue. Today, Premier Agent is 65 percent of the overall business, as revenue from home sales and mortgages accelerate rapidly.
Homes: Zillow’s Homes segment is the one to watch going forward as that’s where all its buying and selling data will come from. In the first quarter, Homes was responsible for $128.5 million in revenue, up from $41.3 million last quarter. Year-over-year comparisons aren’t available yet because Zillow only launched the program in the third quarter of 2018. Zillow bought 898 homes in the first quarter, up 80 percent from the prior quarter, and sold 414, a 200 percent increase.
Mortgages: Lost in the shuffle of Zillow’s shift to home sales was its evolution into a mortgage lender. Its rebranded mortgage arm, Zillow Home Loans, launched this quarter and was responsible for $27.4 million in revenue for the quarter, up 44 percent over a year ago.
Looking ahead: Zillow projected total revenue of $568 million to $594 million for the second quarter, which would represent a whopping 79 percent increase in revenue at the midpoint of the range. The Homes segment is projected to bring in $230 million to $245 million in revenue, a rise of 85 percent over the prior quarter.
“Zillow Offers’ incredible consumer demand and rapid growth gives us confidence we’re in the early stages of something important,” Zillow CEO Rich Barton said in a statement. “I’m quite pleased with our whole team’s execution and overall consumer and industry response to the investments we’re making in Premier Agent, Zillow Offers, and now Zillow Home Loans. The Zillow Group portfolio is more than just the sum of our business segments. We are aligning our entire portfolio to deliver a seamless, integrated transaction experience to help today’s on-demand consumers buy, sell, rent and finance homes faster and easier than ever before.”
Investors haven’t shown the love to Zillow following its big shift over the last few months. Barton acknowledged the risks the company was taking when it announced the changes.
Going from a very profitable primary model of selling ads to a much riskier, more capital-intensive business is going to spook some investors. Zillow got a stock bump on the day of its big announcements in February, but all those gains dissipated during the quarter.
Zillow stock is down 39 percent over a year ago, but it has risen roughly 14 percent since the start of the year.