Online powerhouse Zillow, Inc. has announced its intention to buy New York real estate website StreetEasy for $50 million.
“StreetEasy is an excellent strategic fit with Zillow, as we share a common goal: To help consumers become smarter about real estate by communicating comprehensive, unbiased information about apartments and homes,” said Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff.
“StreetEasy is an incredibly strong and recognized brand in New York City, and complements Zillow’s dominant and growing national brand.
“We’re delighted to welcome the enormously talented and knowledgeable StreetEasy team on board.”
Launched in December 2005 by CEO Michael Smith StreetEasy has become ubiquitous, attracting nearly 1.2 million monthly unique users, primarily home shoppers in the New York region.
The company blazed a trail in the online publication of free and transparent sales information, publishing comprehensive sale and rental histories of over 10,500 apartments in Manhattan, giving prospective residents unprecedented access to data formerly only available to brokers or landlords.
The site has been profitable since September 2008, on the eve of the collapse of Lehman, as buyers and renters realized that data was more valuable than ever. StreetEasy’s revenue comes from advertising, listings and subscriptions.
While StreetEasy was met with unease from parts of the brokerage community when it first debuted, brokers grew to see the site as a powerful tool, both for market research, and as a vehicle for marketing their own listings.
The city’s major residential brokerages now give StreetEasy listings data, and the company has conducted training sessions for brokers from Prudential Douglas Elliman, Brown Harris Stevens, Stribling & Associates, Halstead Property, Warburg Realty, Sotheby’s, Bellmarc Realty and Citi Habitats.
“Simply put, StreetEasy has cracked the code in New York,” Rascoff said. “They now have a local network effect where nearly every New York broker is active on StreetEasy because of the site’s large audience and comprehensive data.”
“At StreetEasy, we pride ourselves on bringing much-needed transparency to the New York City real estate marketplace, and being the primaryreference site for consumers and real estate professionals,” said Smith. “We’re very excited to be joining forces with Zillow as we continue our commitment to data integrity, innovation and collaboration with the local real estate community.”
Following news of the deal, Zillow announced the an offering of 5,023,486 shares of Class A common stock at a price of $82.00 per share.