You would think that 2009 was not a great year for a site like Zillow. After all, the housing market was rough, as it was one of the driving forces behind the global economic downturn that began in 2008.
"2009 was a wild year for real estate, with continued home value declines, government intervention, record low mortgage rates, and an enormous amount of consumer uncertainty about what the future holds," said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow's chief operating officer.
In spite of that, Zillow saw it's traffic records broken in all sorts of ways. Perhaps, as people prepared and planned for a hopeful recovery, Zillow was turned to as a resource in a confusing market.
"People flocked to Zillow for information and advice," noted Rascoff. "Uncertainty always benefits information providers, and 2009 was the year that Zillow solidified its place as a clear leader in providing millions of people with real estate information."
Here's what uncertainty created for Zillow in 2009:
- An average of 8.2 million unique users per month in 2009, up 57% year-over-year
- 37% growth in page views year-over-year
- 3.9 million for-sale, rental and Make Me Move listings, up 43%, the result of more listings feed partnerships with brokerages and Multiple Listings Services.
- 550,000 loan requests were submitted on Zillow Mortgage Marketplace in 2009. 46%, or 253,300 were for refinance loans as mortgage rates. Lenders responded with more than 10 million custom loan quotes. To date, over 7,000 lender ratings and reviews have been submitted by borrowers.
- 171 U.S. newspapers partnered with Zillow to use their search and listings technology
Zillow also experienced a boost in mobile, similar to what we've learned about eBay during their recent holiday shopping season. Zillow launched an iPhone app in April, which has already seen over 870,000 downloads. Over 2 million homes have been viewed on the app, and it's the most popular real estate iPhone app. O'Reilly Media named the Zillow iPhone App "Best App for Real Estate" and a "top pick."
"We saw a real shift change in how people consume and find real estate information," said Rascoff. "It's clear to us that more and more people want Zillow's real estate information on location, while touring neighborhoods and homes, and we expect this trend to magnify in 2010."