From the Zip Realty conference call yesterday:
Lanny Baker, Chief Executive Officer and President of ZipRealty, commented, “Throughout 2013, our primary financial objective was to accelerate ZipRealty’s revenue growth while delivering positive Adjusted EBITDA for the full year. We made strong operational progress in support of those objectives during the year, however real estate sales in our markets slowed more sharply than expected during the fourth quarter, and our relative momentum was not strong enough to completely offset that change. As a result, our fourth quarter revenue was below the outlook we provided previously.”
The total value of real estate transactions in the metropolitan areas that ZipRealty serves grew by 9% year to year in the fourth quarter, compared to a 22% year to year growth rate in the first nine months of the year. The total value of ZipRealty’s real estate transactions declined by 4% year to year in the fourth quarter, compared to an 8% growth rate in the first nine months of the year.
“The results and outlook we are providing today do not match the more ambitious long-term objectives we have for ZipRealty, yet recent trends in real estate transaction activity within our owned and operated markets point to a more modest growth outlook for 2014. Consumer home search activity appears to have slowed this winter, and recent industry data shows lower pending sales and mortgage applications compared to a year ago. However, ZipRealty has increased the size of its agent force by 13% in the past year and has also released upgrades to its technology platform that are intended to aid customer acquisition and agent productivity. Meanwhile, the Powered by Zip unit continues to attract new brokerage customers and agents to its digital platform and will remain a central strategic priority in 2014 and beyond.