Rich Barton, the visionary co-founder and CEO of Zillow Group, spent much of 2022 stabilizing his company after pulling it out of iBuying in late 2021. The ship appears to have steadied as he continues to lead the company with the nation’s most popular website with over 236 million monthly unique visitors and a powerhouse suite of agent tools and services.
Barton introduced an ambitious strategy in 2022 of a “housing super app” that refocuses Zillow on its core strength of partnering with agents to serve consumers. By the third quarter, Zillow showed progress toward that vision with the launch of ShowingTime+, which brings the company’s agent tools of transaction management, showing software, and listing tools into one platform.
Zillow also launched new agent products in 2022: Listing Media Service, which offers photo and video packages to listing agents, and Listing Showcase, which Zillow calls “a complete media placement package that puts the listing agent’s brand front and center.”
Like most other real estate companies in 2022, Zillow Group saw revenue drop from the previous year, but its $1.5 billion in revenue through the third quarter in 2022 represents only a 4.6 percent drop from the same period in 2021. In addition, the firm trimmed its net loss over the period from $267 million to $29 million. With Opendoor stumbling and Redfin pulling out of iBuying, Barton’s swift decision last year to exit the business appears prescient. He may have saved the company from the disaster that was 2022.
As long as Zillow has the consumer eyeballs, a strong technology team, enough cash in the bank to not only survive the downturn but to be opportunistic, and a leader unafraid to make the tough decisions and make the big calls, Zillow should remain as one of the most important entities in real estate. Its leader, Rich Barton, who made the tough call a year ago and continues to make bold decisions in 2022 asserts his position as one of the five most powerful people in residential real estate.