Homes.com traffic up 200% — could it become a top portal?
Zillow's site visits were up, but the portal lost market share while Homes.com and Redfin made gains, and Realtor.com slumped.
- Zillow, which maintains its strong lead among home search portals, has seen an uptick in overall visits in recent months, but its market shared dipped by 1% between April and May.
- Homes.com, operated by CoStar Group, saw the highest traffic gains by far, bumping it from 6th place in February to 5th place in May.
- CoStar's CEO believes the portal can move to the No. 2 spot by next spring, but it still has a long way to go.
We may only be halfway through 2023, but for real estate portals, this year is already shaping up to be one of heated competition for traffic as well as for agent and consumer loyalty.
There was the proverbial "shot heard 'round the real estate world" back in May, when CoStar CEO Andy Florance took direct aim at Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin at the T3 Leadership Summit when discussing his company's push and continued investment in Homes.com. (Note: T3 Sixty and Real Estate News share a founder, Stefan Swanepoel.) The idea was simple, he suggested — make the platform more friendly to agents and give consumers a better experience.
Zillow may still be number one, but the company seems to understand it can't rest on its laurels. Instead, Zillow is building out a suite of proprietary agent tools via its so-called "super app" intended to boost productivity and make Zillow the preferred portal partner for agents, exec Errol Sameulson told Real Estate News last month.
So how do the top portals stack up today?
Zillow, Realtor.com lose market share
Zillow, the longtime leader, dominates market share in terms of overall traffic and visits. According to the most recent data from SimilarWeb, Zillow controlled 43% of all portal traffic with more than 318 million visits in May. Still, it's a small decline compared to just a few months prior, when the company claimed 44% of market share. In terms of raw numbers, however, the company captured more traffic in June, garnering 335 million visits.
Realtor.com has appeared to be in a bit of a rut this year, claiming 19% overall portal market share in February, which was a 3% drop year-over-year. According to May stats, that market share fell slightly to 18.7%, representing a 2.4% drop year-over-year. Realtor's total visits were nearly unchanged between May and June, at 142.6 million and 142.4 million respectively.
When Real Estate News asked then-CEO David Doctorow about the perceived slump in Realtor.com traffic and numbers back in May, he suggested that the numbers don't tell the whole story. "Our focus as a company is not about trying to have the maximum traffic number," he said, adding that the company was more interested in a "higher quality audience that's serious" about buying and selling homes.
Redfin a strong contender, but Homes.com has surged
Redfin is still steadily holding down the third place spot with 132.9 million visits in April, 142.6 million in May, and then another 142.4 million in June. It also gained market share, improving by 1.4% year-over-year.
But it's CoStar's Homes.com platform that has seen big growth in the last year — and particularly so in recent months. In February, Homes.com claimed just 3.3% of the total home search traffic and was sixth among portals. Three months later in May, Homes.com ranked No. 5 in market share with 4.2% of search traffic, and has seen its visits go from 28 million in April, to 32.3 million in May, and 38.8 million in June.
Based on May data, visits to Homes.com were up more than 200% year-over-year — and no other portal came close to that level of growth.
Florance is so bullish on Homes.com's potential that he believes it can become the second most visited real estate home search site by next spring. And while its growth has been undeniable, it would still need to more than triple its current traffic to catch up to Realtor.com.
"Homes.com is definitely the fastest-growing site out there," Florance said in May. "It is likely that we could move into the number two position within 12 months."