House and Senate antitrust subcommittee members Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) have asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to review Zillow’s pending $500 million acquisition of home-showing scheduling platform, ShowingTime.
Why the probe?
The lawmakers are citing anti-trust concerns in the residential real estate space.
“The effect of Zillow’s acquisitions appears to be that it can effectively tell the homeowner what their home is worth, buy the home from the homeowner for that amount, and then turn around and immediately sell the home for a higher price,” the lawmakers stated in a letter to the FTC.
What Zillow is saying:
A Zillow spokesperson released the following statement:
“Since our announcement to acquire ShowingTime, Zillow and ShowingTime have worked constructively with the FTC staff in their thorough review of the transaction.
“Our mission has always been to ‘turn on the lights’ for consumers by giving them information previously hidden or incredibly difficult to get access through tools such as the Zestimate and the publishing of millions of agent and lender reviews. Zillow’s tools are designed to maximize transparency, champion simplicity and broaden choice for customers—enabling them to connect with local real estate professionals to guide them on their real estate journey—whether they are buying, selling or renting.
“Key to our mission is our work to modernize the real estate transaction—which has been notoriously resistant to consumer-friendly change over the decades. By building an open and equitable service which is available to all agents and brokers, which would include ShowingTime after the closing of the transaction, we are helping move the industry towards a more efficient, digital future that works to benefit consumers.”
According to an article by The Information, tech acquisitions may see a slowdown in approvals due to procedural changes at the Federal Trade Commission.
This is a developing story. Stay tuned to RISMedia for updates.
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.