National brokerage company ZipRealty expects to be operating in five cities in Connecticut by the third quarter of 2008, marking the company’s expansion into its 20th U.S. state.

ZipRealty’s planned coverage area includes Hartford, Tolland, Middlesex, New Haven and Litchfield counties, according to an announcement of the planned expansion.

The company said it plans to open an office in Hartford, and hire a district director and local, licensed agents as part of the expansion.

ZipRealty currently operates in 34 major markets across the nation.

The brokerage company officially launched in New York State in 2007, and currently works with buyers and sellers in multiple New York City boroughs, on Long Island and in Westchester and Putnam counties.

ZipRealty is currently the only residential real estate brokerage company in the United States that is publicly traded.

Company shares (Nasdaq: ZIPR) were trading at $5.09 a share on Thursday, up 1.8 percent from Wednesday’s closing price of $5.

ZipRealty will announce first-quarter earnings on Wednesday, May 7. In its last earnings report for all of 2007, the company reported a net loss of $14.9 million for the year, or 66 cents per share, down from a loss of $20.6 million, or $1 per share the previous year.

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