Zillow halts homebuying due to coronavirus

March 23, 2020, 2:51 PM UTC

Hundreds of businesses have shut down operations owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now home sales are starting to get put on hold.

Zillow has temporarily stopped its homebuying operations in 24 states because of the outbreak. Zillow Offers, which the company was planning on expanding to other markets, has been put on hold to protect both employees and buyers.

“Given the concerns for public safety and rapid developments by governments that restrict local real estate activities, we determined it was prudent to pause our homebuying to preserve our capital,” said Zillow Group cofounder and CEO Rich Barton in a statement. “We plan to restore Zillow Offers’ full operations once health concerns pass, and local health orders are lifted.”

Zillow is the first real estate agency to halt operations because of the coronavirus.

The company put a stop to open houses last week in all markets—and says it had already slowed its pace of acquiring homes over the past month. It currently has an inventory of approximately 1,860 homes, it says, down from 2,707 at the beginning of the year.

Zillow Offers lets homeowners sell their home to Zillow, which then sells the home itself. The home-flipping business, which uses algorithms, is still very much in its infancy, but has seen high demand. It reported revenues of $248.9 million for the second quarter of 2019.

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