Homes.com making big strides in portal race, but Zillow dominates
CoStar’s investment in Homes.com appears to be paying off as the home search site boasts more than 100% year-over-year growth.
- The latest report on portal traffic from Similarweb shows Zillow firmly at the top with a 43% share.
- However, Homes.com is making strides with its 113% year-over-year growth in traffic.
- Realtor.com remains in second place at 18.6%, and Redfin claimed 15% of portal traffic in March.
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but longtime portal leader Zillow has shown its ability to endure despite being the top target for competitors. The latest numbers from Similarweb on portal traffic from March offer some predictable outcomes, and one big surprise.
Compared to last month, there has been little change among the top players and their overall dominance of the market. Zillow remains in first place with over 43% of the market share of all portal traffic, while Realtor.com held down second place with 18.6% and Redfin was close behind with 15.2%.
Some of the more established portals have actually experienced major year-over-year slumps, particularly Rocket Homes, which witnessed a significant 52% annual decline in web traffic. Century 21 is also struggling, having taken a 43% drop in traffic since March 2022.
Zillow remains the clear king of the hill
Not only is Zillow.com far and away the category leader, but Zillow Group's dominance remains unrivaled when tallying up traffic from all of its brands. Together, Zillow, Trulia and Streeteasy account for 52% of all portal traffic.
In March alone, Zillow tallied nearly 300 million impressions, while Trulia had just under 50 million visits and Streeteasy brought in 9 million visitors.
Perhaps the biggest unknown among Zillow Group's brands is what role Trulia will play in the company's growth. While Trulia remains one of the top portals, its year-over-year traffic has dropped 8.5% while Zillow dipped only 5%.
"The challenge for Zillow Group is optimization — it is to their benefit to invest as much as possible into driving Zillow traffic until changes in marginal costs indicate that it would be better to invest in driving Trulia traffic," Raymond "RJ" Jones, VP of investor relations at Similarweb, told Real Estate News. "From Zillow Group's perspective, that signal is likely not there at this time."
However, Homes.com's steady growth may soon become a force to reckon with. The CoStar-backed portal is currently in the sixth position with just 3.5% of the total market share, but its name recognition is growing quickly.
Homes.com's growth is no coincidence
Homes.com's share of traffic may still be relatively small, but the big news is the fact that its footprint has increased by 113% year-over-year, the Similarweb report reveals. And perhaps even more notable, it's the only portal to be experiencing such dramatic growth. According to Similarweb, only four of the seventeen portal sites they track saw a year-over-year uptick in traffic: Homes.com, RE/MAX, Compass and eXp Realty.
There are a couple of key reasons for Homes.com's growth, Jones suggested. The big one is the continued investment and push from Homes.com parent company CoStar. And then there's the simple fact that Homes.com has a built-in SEO advantage.
"Homes.com appears to be benefiting from investments by Costar into advertising online (search) and offline (TV, radio, other)," he said through email. "Because there is high affinity for the term 'homes' by consumers, the flow of traffic both direct and organic for Homes.com is likely very sustainable."
While Homes.com's growth is being fueled by strategic investment and savvy SEO, it's hitting the competition at a time when others have become more vulnerable. And while Realtor.com remains a portal heavyweight, Homes.com is chipping away at its base, Jones said.
"Looking only at the numbers, Realtor.com traffic appears to be defecting to Homes.com and Zillow," he said. "Given the effectiveness of ad spend by both Homes.com and Zillow, it likely will take substantial investment by News Corp into advertising to change the flow of traffic back."