Move Inc., parent of Realtor.com, the online listing service for the National Association of Realtors, came out with its third quarter earnings yesterday. Sales were down 11% to $53 million. Although the company has been able to boost its cash flow through cost cutting and more efficient management, it is still a tough environment. Realtor.com depends largely on real estate agents advertising their listings on the site.
Move CEO Steven Berkowitz said the company didn’t see the usual spike in listings last Spring. Many homeowners are holding off putting their house on the market in this crummy sales year. As for the agents, Berkowitz said the company had seen a “significant decrease” in their number. Of those that are in still in business, they are spending less on marketing.
What gives Berkowitz hope is more potential home buyers coming to the site and staying longer, even its just to window shop.
“They are doing more shopping. They are doing more comparison shopping. They are spending more time looking rather than buying. It is no different than a lot of what is happening in retail in a lot of stores where the high end stores people are walking through the store and shopping but they are not buying.”
The company says it’s updating many of its service offerings, which it needs to. Realtor.com is just about the only real estate search site that doesn’t link to Google’s street views so you can see what the neighborhood looks like without driving out there. Get a move on Move Inc!
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.