Some initial thoughts: (1) scaling a lipstick flipping business was going to be difficult for anyone in the space, especially when home prices became volatile. Zillow Quits Home-Flipping Business, Cites Inability to Forecast Prices - WSJ…
(2) There’s a reason most successful flippers are local and focused on value add - doing major renovations shields a flipper from price fluctuations and forces equity. Doing little is akin to short term speculation.
(3) Many will fault ZG for their operations because other competitors - Opendoor etc - are still in the game. But since Zillow has other sources of revenue, it’s possible they could be the smart ones getting out early.
(4) as much data and Zillow and others have, they lack scalable data inputs into their AVM that give signals as to past work that was done on the home and what such work might bring to the past and future value of a home.
(5) I wouldn’t count out iBuying for good. As better data inputs - say from records of past work and market valuation of potential improvements - become available.
(6) My hunch is that a scalable model is not based on lipstick improvements, but bigger value add improvements. The trick is to assemble the labor and materials at scale to undertake such improvements and to be able to hold for 4-6 months while undertaking work.
(7) Point (6) is important since it protects flippers from fluctuations (though not 100%) in home prices.
(8) Look for other players who’s business is 100% ibuying to alter their business models as home prices appreciation slows. End thread.

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More from @HousingRalph

2 Nov
CHPI update for the week ending October 29th: asking price for the most common home falls below $350k, inventory drops again, and Florida markets are booming. Thread:…
Asking price for the most common U.S. home fell below $350k last week, the first time since May of this year. The seasonal downturn in home prices is clearly in full effect.…
On a year-over-year basis, price growth is at 6.9%. This is the smallest YOY gain in 18 months.…
Read 9 tweets
21 Aug 20
My family and I evacuated from our home in Groveland last night because of the #MocFire. It was an arduous experience to say the least, but will share some thoughts in the hopes it will be of use to those who evacuate from other current/future fires. Thread:
You’re never as prepared as you think you are and it will take longer than you expect. And fires can move extremely quickly. The #MocFire started quite a distance from our home (HWYs 120 & 49).That’s a 30 minute drive from our house. Within a few hours, it was at our doorstep.
Getting accurate and timely info was frustratingly tough, and accurate info matters because it - at the least - determines how you should evacuate (ie, jump in the car and run or take time to pack up survival equipment, etc).
Read 13 tweets
28 Jul 20
A very wow homeownership report today. MASSIVE jump in the homeownership rate this was a rare significant increase. The rate jumped by nearly 4 percentage points to 37.9%. Highest since 2008. Here's a thread on why this happened during a pandemic
Essentially there was a massive boom in the number of homeowners combined with a very large drop in the number of renters. Basically one of the largest changes in both numbers in decades (possible ever, but will check on this on report back in another tweet).
The big gains came from young households. Households under 35 jumped by 3.2 percentage points, 35-44 by nearly 5 percentage points. Likely largest annual jump on record for both.
Read 6 tweets
26 Feb 19
Massive housing data release day. Here’s a thread on points that catch my eye.
Housing starts down pretty sharply. Both MF and SF, but more for MF. 16% YOY. None of the numbers are statistically significant.
More interesting to me is change in permits since they lead starts. SF down 5.5% YOY and is statistically significant. To me that’s much more interesting than SF starts falling. And MF up 13.6% YOY. Surprisingly big jump this late in the game.
Read 23 tweets

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