On Friday, the company mentioned that the antitrust suit against them over how they showcase their listings could maybe, be a huge blow to their platform. The company warned during their court filings that this suit could destroy America’s most famous website to locate for-sale homes.
REX which is a startup in the real estate world has requested federal courts that Zillow and subsidiary Trulia need to stop the separation of listings into two categories. The listings on Zillow are categorized as those listed by agents from the National Association of Realtors and listings by other people. The company however responded that contractual restrictions are the reason they segregate these listings.
Court documents by Zillow state, “REX’s proposed injunction creates a substantial risk that Zillow’s online platforms would lose access to listings data in markets across the country. ” Zillow said this “runs the risk that Zillow could lose access to the data entirely, irreparably damaging its business.”
Zillow’s platform underwent a change in January when they obtained data from Multiple Listing Services Internet Data Exchange feeds. Their rules are determined by the NAR. Because of these rules, Zillow cannot add the NAR listings to the data that is uploaded by agents that are Non-NAR.
Zillow does not like these rules either and believes them to be outdated but to gain access to the data, they had to agree to the rules. This data is much more updated and reliable than the data Zillow previously used to use.
Zillow added more than 3,000 home properties in Seattle after obtaining IDX feeds. Seattle is where Zillow’s headquarters are located. The company has said that they would lose thousands of properties on their platform if they lost IDX feeds. These properties are currently available on Trulia and Zillow.
Because of the quarantine, many people are buying more homes. Many employees have taken to working from home or moved back with their parents. Hence Zillow has predicted that this year the home market will have the highest growth since the 80s.
REX filed a federal case last month against Zillow because they believe this new display and segregation of listing favors NAR brokers.
REX has claimed that since the platform changed its display, the listings uploaded by Non-NAR agents are available in a now hidden tab which makes it difficult for people to locate those listings. REX claimed during a filing on April 15, that the listings that were moved to the main tab from the hidden tab saw a 500 percent increase in views.
REX is asking the court to disallow Zillow from separating the listings. Currently, Trulia and Zillow control the online home market by 75 percent. REX wants Zillow to change its listings display so it stops favoring NAR agents.
Now, REX will respond next month, after Zillow’s filing. U.S. District Judge Thomas S. Zilly has yet to announce whether a hearing will be held based on REX’s injunction or he will rule as per the already submitted filings.