zillow-logoPosted by Leonard Steinberg on August 19th, 2013

Zillow, the mega-brand national real estate search engine has announced it will be buying STREETEASY for an estimated $ 50 million, the site so many New Yorkers have relied on for all sorts of data brokers used to hold as exclusive domain. Zillow, which has been successful in other parts of the USA with their Zestimates and the likes, has failed (until now) to impact the New York real estate market.  Is Zillow attempting to crack open the New York real estate market with this purchase? Or is it trying to boost the value of its stock?

I announced the arrival of Zillow many years ago when its founder, Rich Barton, was scouring the New York real estate markets…..he seemed more interested in how the markets worked than the real estate he was viewing. I have repeatedly addressed the ‘machine versus human’ factor in my monthly newsletter LUXURYLETTER: then again, I would bet those check-out people at Home Depot never thought they would be replaced by self-check-out machines either!

My suspicion is that this will not impact things too much since real estate companies have introduced search engines into their own sites already, thereby competing with the likes of a Streeteasy or Zillow. ¬†Zillow’s new-found mine of data will be valuable, although I have seen tons of inaccurate Streeteasy data to feel rather comfortable that there is a long road travelled before technology will replace humans in New York real estate transactions.