Description: Dive into how the tech enabled real estate brokerage site prepared itself for the surprising COVID housing boom.
“Redfin is a technology-powered residential real estate brokerage” . The company is self-proclaimed as providing the “modern way to buy or sell a home” driven by a technology focused platform reaching various points in the stages of real estate sales. The technology is not the only aspect of the intended disruption, Redfin prides itself on the having their own agents and tech engineers paired to the immersive online experience, unlike most competitors at the time of the IPO in 2017.
Surge in Housing Demand
In 2020, the initial hit of the COVID pandemic created concerns about another blow to the housing market. To the surprise of many analysts, there was instead a “house-hunting bonanza that gripped many Americans” . Despite the loss of millions of jobs, house hunters ran to online platforms like Zillow and Redfin. The likely causes of this attraction are A) remote work options and B) millennials reaching the average age to become a first-time home buyer.
- Remote Work Options – While remote work has been growing in popularity over the recent years (in tech firms especially), the pandemic forced white collar employers to allow their employees to work from home. This ultimately has led to the ability to work anywhere and young professionals have begun to flee to the suburbs. The next level of this flee has been out of state to states with better costs of living. People and their companies are realizing that they can live anywhere to get work done and they can enjoy their home more without being tethered to the office.
- First Time Buyers – Median age of m This is seen in the massive amounts of purchases but much less sellers. Highest level since 2006. Online searches grew 13% which exhibits a dramatic acceleration.
Doing well in the pandemic is really about being able to meet the digital customer where they are.
Millennials are now at the home buying age (32yrs). This is important because millennials require app friendly platforms to make the process more accessible.
Redfin has led the way in creating digital insights and processes that were well suited for a COVID environment. For example, Redfin offers virtual tours, robust mobile app, tech enabled platform, “instant buying”, as well as concierge services to get houses staged for listings.
Virtual tours are beginning to replace the need for in-person tours. Potential buyers can get what they need from the 3D visualizations and high-tech camera usage instead of spending their weekend traveling across town and putting themselves at risk of coming into contact with the virus.
Another aspect that is attract to the millennial is that Redfin is capturing more of the real estate transaction. With Redfin as the broker, the agent, and the engineer, customers can lessen the amount of parties they have to deal with in order to close on a home.
The Redfin stock has soared over the last year. See the figure below: