Wednesday, February 1, 2023
HomeMarketRedfin and Zillow Stock Slide Shows Possible Shift in Home Listings Landscape

Redfin and Zillow Stock Slide Shows Possible Shift in Home Listings Landscape

Redfin’s stock fell 8.5% on Wednesday.

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Stephen Brashear/Getty Images for Redfin

Shares of real estate companies
Redfin
and
Zillow
Group fell on Wednesday after news of a potential shakeup in the home listings landscape.

Redfin
(Ticker: RDFN) shares lost 8.5% to $5.66 at Wednesday’s close, while
Zillow
(Z) declined 5.3% to $42.25. The drops were greater than the broader market: The S&P 500 index lost 0.02%, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%.
Redfin
fell as much as 10.02% intraday, while Zillow was down 7.75% during the trading session.

The stocks’ movement doesn’t appear to be connected to macroeconomic housing market news. Mortgage rates, a prominent factor in recent conversations about housing demand, have remained below their 2022 peak above 7% in recent weeks, according to Freddie Mac and Mortgage Bankers Association data. Lower rates likely contributed to recent increases in home purchase loan applications, one early indicator of buyer demand.

Two ETFs tracking home builders and related industries, the
iShares U.S. Home Construction
ETF (ITB) and the
SPDR S&P Homebuilders
ETF (XHB), also were up on Wednesday.

Separately,
News Corp
(NWSA), which owns Barron’s parent company Dow Jones, confirmed in a Wednesday regulatory filing that it is in talks with
CoStar Group
(CSGP) about the potential sale of Move, which operates home listings website Realtor.com.

Such a deal would bring Move into the fold at CoStar, a real estate information company known for its commercial real estate services. CoStar didn’t immediately respond to Barron’s request for comment.

The potential acquisition of Move would be “transformational” to CoStar’s strategy in the residential real estate space, Keefe, Bruyette & Woods analyst Ryan Tomasello wrote in a Wednesday note. The analyst’s Outperform rating on CoStar shares and his price target of $98 were unchanged.

Realtor.com’s monthly visitors and brand awareness “would accelerate CoStar’s residential strategy by numerous years, catapulting the company to the #2 residential portal spot behind Zillow,” the analyst wrote.

Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the talks, reported that the potential deal is worth about $3 billion.
News Corp
announced its acquisition of Move in 2014 for about $950 million in an all-cash tender offer.

In
News Corp
‘s first fiscal quarter, there were an average of 86 million monthly unique users of Realtor.com, according to the company’s earnings release. Redfin’s monthly visitors averaged about 51 million in its most recent quarter, according to an earnings release. In its most recent quarterly report, Zillow said it has 236 million average monthly unique users in its third quarter.

The sale isn’t a done deal. “There can be no assurance any transaction will result from these discussions,” News Corp said in it regulatory filing. A News Corp spokesperson declined to comment further.

But such a possibility may have rattled investors in companies such as Redfin and Zillow, both of which host home listings portals. Representatives for Redfin and Zillow declined to comment Wednesday on their stock movements.

Zillow and Redfin have outpaced the broader market this month. Year-to-date, the stocks are up 32.3% and 35.7% respectively, compared to a 4.5% gain in the S&P 500 and an increase of 8.1% in the Nasdaq.

Write to Shaina Mishkin at shaina.mishkin@dowjones.com

Credit: marketwatch.com

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