The $300m flip flop: how real-estate site Zillow’s side hustle went badly wrong | Real estate

Online shopping can be dangerous, as the US property website Zillow has belatedly come to realize. While many of us wasted countless hours during the pandemic clicking through real estate listings on Zillow and daydreaming about the sort of pad we’d buy if we had deep pockets, the company was running a side-business, separate from it’s property searching website, in which it deployed algorithms to help it buy houses themselves and then flip them.

It did a lot of buying, but hasn’t been so great at the selling. This week the company announced that its home-buying division, Offers, has lost over $300m over the last few months. Offers will now be shut down and around 2,000 people laid off. Zillow reportedly has about 7,000 homes that it now needs to unload; many for prices lower than it originally paid.

You would be forgiven for not knowing that Zillow was even in the business of buying houses. For most of its 15-year-history the…

Read full article…www.theguardian.com