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A tip of the cap to reader Dan Maza who updates us that CondoFlip.com — a web site that was designed to serve as an exchange where buyers of pre-construction condos could find secondary buyers to whom they could flip the property (in an “orderly fashion”) and a site that I mentioned in this blog in 2005 — joined the Pets.com Sock Puppet in the great Internet burial ground. Actually, if type in the condoflip.com URL, you are forwarded to a sister site, the Condo Super Store, where buyers can, y’know, INVEST in a condo, not speculate…). The developer of the site, Mark Zilbert, scoffed at the notion that condomania in Florida was a bubble, famously arguing that “bubbles are for bathtubs.”
Zilbert also boasted that Condo Flip could become “the most significant advancement in real estate technology since the Multiple Listing Service concept was introduced for residential resales.” The site even offered a patented “Panic Button” that allowed sellers to drop the price of their unbuilt condo with the click of a button.
(UPDATED TO INCLUDE COMMENT FROM MARK ZILBERT…Keep reading…)
In closing the site, Zilbert noted earlier this year that it didn't see reason to continue the service given that there were only sellers and no buyers.
UPDATE 5/31: Condoflip.com founder Mark Zilbert posted a comment to this blog item overnight, and so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle, I thought I'd include Zilbert's response here so he gets the last word:
"Let's not forget that the real estate market is, by nature dynamic," writes Zilbert. "When we started CondoFlip.com in 2004, there was a LOT of buying and reselling of condos. Then, in early 2005 the buying stopped. So, we had to retool our services to match what the market was demanding. Now, we help many of the original speculators get out of their contracts by reselling them at the original cost. That's what's going on in 2007, and that's what we are providing our customers with. We are simply a company that responds to changing market conditions. CondoFlip.com was not a flop. It simply became a site that didn't meet the needs of the market place anymore."
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.