Last year, we predicted the rise in Google Base’s popularity, as well as the launch of the largest consumer-direct real estate portal in some years (Zillow). As we reflect on the year behind us, each year the Inman News team creates a list of predictions for the year ahead. Here are 10 things we think will happen in 2007:
1. Housing will lose its sex appeal. TV shows on home improvements, weird Realtors and house flipping will be canceled. Home Depot will no longer be a popular place to find dates.
2. Wall Street will no longer be enamored with the mortgage market; investors instead will shift their focus to office buildings and help overbuild that market, only to move their attention elsewhere in 2008 (such as Cuba when it is finally economically liberated in 2007).
3. The National Association of Realtors will go direct to the consumer with its message, moving beyond simple ads and offering relevant buying and selling content on multiple mediums.
4. Move Inc., formerly Homestore, will find a new CEO when Mike Long retires after saving the company from its early accounting disaster.
5. Google and Zillow will go head to head in a fierce competitive battle to dominate the online consumer market. Google will add robust features and Zillow’s traffic will soar. Watch for Zillow to start an offline ad campaign.
6. Real estate search site Trulia will be acquired after building one of the largest search sites to date for home listings.
7. A raft of discount brokers will go out of business. Tough markets will squeeze out many who just started during boom years as sellers grow more willing to pay top dollar to get their homes sold.
8. RealEstate.com will either acquire a big broker or abandon its offline brokerage experiment.
9. The number of MLSs will drop in half as consolidation becomes necessary, not just interesting.
10. Inman News Publisher Bradley Inman will retire again (for about two weeks this time).
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