If reported merger talks between Zillow and Trulia do culminate in a deal, a slim majority of Inman News readers who responded to an online poll Thursday said that would be bad for the real estate industry.

Would a merger of Zillow and Trulia be good or bad for the real estate industry?


Results of online poll of Inman News readers as of 5 p.m. Pacific time Thursday, July 24, 2014. The poll remains open.

But some investment analysts and real estate industry experts say the repercussions from the two biggest property search portals becoming one aren’t so clear cut.

If a merger of Zillow and Trulia does take place, it would lead to one, clear leader in the space — and perhaps increased advertising costs for brokers and agents.

Other than that, however, brokers, agents and multiple listing services won’t be hugely affected by the deal, said Steve Murray, president of real estate consulting firm Real Trends.

“For the agent on the street, a merger between Zillow and Trulia doesn’t change much,” Murray said. They still have to deal with buyers and sellers, he said.

Costs for online advertising would go up, but the resulting colossus would also attract more consumers, which would theoretically make the advertising worth more to brokers and agents, Murray said.

Murray says he sees room in the future for two separate portals that get 100,000 agents to each pay $1,000 per month to advertise on their sites. A merger between the two biggest sites simply unites that estimate, he said.

But Bradley Safalow, founder and CEO of stock analysis firm PAA Research, said he “can’t see how this deal works.”

“Forgetting about the fact that Zillow and Trulia hate each other, a merger would make it easier for brokerage firms to stop working with them or squeeze them on featured listings programs,” Safalow said.

Brian Boero, partner at real estate design and marketing firm 1000watt, says that the agent ad and software market the three large, public companies are going after is not as big as many think, so a merger sometime in the next couple of years makes sense.

“The rumor mill has been grinding on this subject for the last six to eight months, but nothing’s hit yet,” Boero said. “We’ll see. If the Big Three, in some combination, became the Big Two you’d lose some of the competitive energy in the space, which may cause prices to drift up for agents, but, again, this is all speculative.”

Given their overlapping services, Gregg Larson, CEO of real estate consulting firm Clareity Consulting, questions whether the U.S. Federal Trade Commission would allow the deal to go through if it happened. However, lawyers on both sides are likely vetting that issue and if talks lead to a deal, then any antitrust issues might be moot, he said.

Show Comments Hide Comments
Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription