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Newspapers across the country are in turmoil as advertising revenue continues to flood out of print and onto the Web. Classified advertisements, especially the real estate listings that papers have long depended on, have shifted to Craigslist and other free Web sites.
A new home-finder application for the iPhone that I wrote about this week could be something else for publishers to worry about. The Trulia.com iPhone app finds your location and then displays all available open houses and other listings on an interactive map. With a couple taps of the screen, you’ll find details about the house, agent contact information, and photographs. Why carry around the bulky weekend newspaper when you can pull up real-time open house information for free while you’re actually in the neighborhood where you want to buy?
Trulia CEO Pete Flint told me that the application will go “right at the heart” of newspaper real estate ad revenue.
“Unfortunately, this is another nail in the coffin of newspapers,” Flint said.
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.