ZipRealty Inc.’s closed transaction sides grew by 28.5 percent during the second quarter from a year ago, but falling home prices limited growth in revenue to a more modest 5.6 percent.

The bottom line for the growing Emeryville, Calif.-based real estate brokerage was a $2.4 million second-quarter loss, an improvement from the previous quarter’s $7.5 million loss but larger than the $1.7 million deficit the company posted a year ago.

The 6,017 transaction sides in which ZipRealty represented a homebuyer or seller generated an average of $5,269 in revenue, down 17.4 percent from a year ago but up slightly from $5,119 during the first quarter.

In a regulatory filing, ZipRealty President and CEO Pat Lashinsky attributed the uptick in average transaction revenue to fewer "non-standard transactions" in the mix, falling inventories in most of the 36 markets where the company is active, and greater stability in median prices.

With $44.8 million of cash and short-term investments on hand and no long-term debt, Lashinsky said ZipRealty’s strategy is to continue investing in its Web site, growing its agent force, and building local market share.

ZipRealty grew by 183 agents during the second quarter, employing 3,172 at the end of June — a 24 percent increase from the 2,559 agents employed at the same time a year ago.

In 2008, ZipRealty was the nation’s ninth-largest real estate brokerage in terms of transaction sides, according to rankings of top brokerage companies compiled by Real Trends (see story).

But the company’s Web site attracts more traffic than any other broker’s Web site, and consistently ranks as the fourth most popular real estate Web site overall, behind, Yahoo! Real Estate and Zillow, according to data collected by Hitwise (see story).


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