I was reading my twitter feed and it just jumped out at me: Zillow announced their acquisition of StreetEasy for $50M in cash. I also heard it simultaneously on the show Bloomberg Surveillance. Their CEO Spencer Rascoff will be on the show tomorrow morning to talk about the acquisition.
While there will be lots of prognosticating about Zillow‘s entrance into the NYC housing market through a heavily used resource like StreetEasy (Zillow was here already, just not taken very seriously).
I think there’s a bigger story for Zillow. If Zillow leverages the StreetEasy data presentation model, Zillow will be shaking up the housing market real estate information space across the US.
Think highrise urban housing markets – I call them “vertical” markets (not to be confused with “vertical” in marketing parlance).
• All national data aggregators and brokerage companies haven’t yet figured out vertical housing markets yet in terms of their presentation of information.
• MLS systems remain firmly single family orientated and have yet to present data in highrise markets in a visually logical way – ie co-ops and condos. Symbolic of the general primitiveness of MLS systems in handling multi-unit housing, one MLS system in the NYC metro area still tags “co-ops” as “condos.”
Kudos to Streeteasy for shaking up the market from day one. When they launched, StreetEasy became the housing data resource of choice for most in NYC. I met most of the team a while back and I was impressed with how a small group of people could really shake things up in a huge market. While presenting clean data in a very dirty data environment continues to be a challenge, I think their greatest contribution to the housing market has been how they displayed their information – in a way that consumers screamed for.