The share prices in online real estate portals Trulia and Zillow soared to new all-time highs today after Trulia reported big jumps in second-quarter revenue and adjusted earnings, and issued bullish guidance for the months ahead.
After markets closed Wednesday, Trulia reported that monthly unique visitors to the site during the second quarter were up 49 percent from a year ago, and revenue grew by 77 percent, to $29.7 million.
Trulia said paid subscribers — agents who depend on the site for leads — were up 49 percent from a year ago, to 32,123, with average monthly revenue per subscriber for the quarter increasing 31 percent, to $194.
Trulia CEO Pete Flint said the company’s proposed acquisition of Market Leader Inc. “will strengthen our position as a leading platform for consumers and professionals, with approximately 50,000 premium subscribers.”
Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $3.4 million, compared with negative $1.8 million a year ago, and Trulia said it expects adjusted EBITDA to come in at $4 million to $4.5 million this quarter.
Third-quarter revenue is also expected to post annual growth of 65 to 70 percent, to $30.5 million to $31.5 million.
The San Francisco-based company’s share price shot up more than 20 percent in heavy trading this morning, touching a new high of $45.13.
That despite the fact that Trulia posted a $2.4 million net loss for the quarter, down from $3.4 million a year ago.
Part of the demand for the company’s stock is likely from investors who’d been betting against Trulia by selling its shares short, and are now scrambling to cover their bets.
Short interest in Trulia climbed from 2.48 million shares at the start of the year to 6.03 million shares as of July 15, according to NASDAQ.com.
Trulia rival Zillow, which has also been heavily shorted, also got a boost from Trulia’s results. Shares in Zillow were trading up more than 11 percent in Thursday morning trading, at one point hitting a new all-time high of $83.50.
Shares in realtor.com operator Move Inc. got a smaller bump, but were up more than 2 percent reaching a 52-week high of $14.40 in Thursday morning trading.
In a note to clients, B. Riley & Co. Senior Analyst Ian Corydon said that because listing volumes remain tight, Trulia management thinks the company has yet to see the full impact of the housing industry recovery.
“We continue to believe that an increase in listing activity is on the horizon and will ultimately help all players in the industry, including Move,” Corydon said.
Trulia is seeing “a strong increase in traffic and lead generation” from home rentals, Corydon said. Rentals are also “an emerging opportunity” for Move, he said, which recently got the go ahead from the National Association of Realtors to publish a wider selection of rental listings on realtor.com.
Editor’s note: The average revenue per subscriber was $194 per month for the second quarter, not $194 for the whole quarter as a previous version of this story stated.