Real Estate in Brief: Zillow’s first home purchase, political shifts and more

by Lauren Clohessy

Zillow Group purchased its first home as a part of the Instant Offers program expansion. The purchase marks Zillow’s transition from its role as a real estate media company to a company that partakes in the direct buying and selling of homes. Zillow purchased a ranch house in Chandler, AZ for $410,000, but currently has the home listed online for $425,00, with a Zestimate of $414,233.

Zillow will continue buying houses in select areas of Phoenix. Zillow’s process for the home buying includes: having homeowners present Zillow with information and photos, Zillow responds with an offer and an agent, both sides schedule a meeting and inspection, Zillow produces a new offer and if both sides are pleased, Zillow purchases the home. Zillow then goes on to sell the house themselves for about $15,000 more than its original buying price. If the process holds up, Zillow could make nearly $1 billion annually.

  • The construction and home building industry has been experiencing a large worker shortage, according to MarketWatch. The decrease in the typical male construction workers leaves women, immigrants and even robots to fill the current void. More work is being done in alternate work spaces, like factories, instead of on construction sites. Nearly 95 percent of builders said worker shortage is their largest problem and it’s considered to be the largest issue in the industry, The National Association of Home Builder’s Chief Economist Rob Dietz estimates 200,000 residential construction workers are needed in the short term, but nearly half a million are needed in the long run.
  • On eXp World Holdings’ first day of trading on Nasdaq, the company crossed $1 billion in market cap. Inman reported that the company is still behind Re/Max, Redfin and Realogy, eXp World Holdings’ market cap reached $1.044 billion at closing on Monday. “Our team is super focused on helping our agents, and our agents are staying super focused on working with their clients. I am really excited about where things have the potential to go as we mature as an organization and continue to scale,” eXp World Holdings CEO Glenn Sanford said. EXp World Holdings is the parent company of eXp Realty, which was created for brokers to virtually attend classes and network through avatars. Agents earn company stock when they complete tasks or make deals.
  • During his final trade conference appearance, Chief Executive of the Mortgage Banker Association David H. Stevens discusses the impacts political changes could bring on. According to National Mortgage Professional Magazine, Stevens warned the crowd how a switch political views during the next elections could shuffle Washington’s views on the mortgage and housing markets. A shift to Democratic leadership could switch the focus away from increasing the housing market’s industry to providing affordable housing. “The next President could be a Democrat and we could see the deregulation pendulum swing back. We need stability; we need responsible lending; and I worry that we don’t self-police ourselves enough,” said Stevens.
  • A new HousingWire report found that while mortgage rates continue to increase, the Refinance Index dropped 4 percent from last week, making it the lowest since December 2000. Along with it, the Purchase Index also decreased 3 percent from last week, but is still 3 percent higher than it was this time last year.
  • BUILDER Magazine named David Weekley Homes as the largest privately held for-profit home builder in America, according to a press release.  “It’s an honor to earn this highly sought-after spot as the nation’s largest privately-held home builder for the sixth year in a row. We continue to expand our product offerings to an even wider customer base, and I’m proud of the amazing Team Members whose hard work and dedication make this recognition possible,” said David Weekley, chairman of David Weekley Homes.
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices was recognized by the Harris Poll EquiTrend as the the “Real Estate Agency Brand of the Year” and “Most Trusted Real Estate Brand.” The Daily News reported Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ rating was based on consumer rankings.  “We are honored to be recognized by consumers in the respected Harris Poll EquiTrend study. It’s a tribute to our franchisees’ tireless work and support of clients and the exemplary way they represent our brand in the marketplace,”  said Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices president and CEO Gino Blefari.