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Zillow’s skyrocketing growth continues

By February 14, 2015 One Comment

Zillow, a company that operates the nation’s most popular real estate portal, continues to grow at a staggering rate, according to its fourth-quarter and 2014 earnings report released today.

The company grew its full-year revenue to $325.9 million in 2014, a 65 percent increase over 2013’s revenue total and nearly three times its 2012 revenue of $116.9 million.

Zillow posted a net loss of $43.6 million over the course of the year, but it attributed $21.5 million of that to costs related to its acquisition of Trulia, which Zillow expects to close as early as Feb. 17.

The merger news along with Zillow’s fourth-quarter revenue of $92.3 million, which beat Wall Street estimates by $2.3 million, has helped push Zillow’s share price up more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

Screenshot of Zillow’s share price performance on Friday, Feb. 13. Source: Google Finance.

The timing of Zillow’s unscheduled earnings release — at 5 p.m. Eastern time on a Friday before a holiday weekend — paired with its decision to forgo an earnings conference call with investors has raised some eyebrows.

While Zillow management won’t be discussing the earnings results for 2014 or the fourth quarter, it has scheduled a call for Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. Eastern time to discuss the Trulia acquisition.

More than two-thirds of Zillow’s fourth-quarter revenue came from agent subscribers who paid an average of $359 per month to advertise on the portal over those three months.

Zillow ended the year with a total of 62,305 agents paying to advertise on the portal, but the rate at which it’s adding new agent subscribers has slowed substantially.

Zillow added a net 1,428 agents over the course of the fourth quarter from the end of the third. That’s less than half the net quarter-over-quarter growth Zillow saw in the fourth quarter a year ago.

When this deceleration first became apparent in August, Zillow explained it away as part of a strategy it launched in early 2014 to target top-producing agents and not the general masses.

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