ZipRealty Inc., a brokerage known for the commission rebates it offers buyers, said it closed 73 percent more transactions in which it represented the seller during the first three months of 2010 than during the same period a year ago.

The brokerage still represented buyers in 92 percent of the 4,903 transaction sides it tallied during the first quarter. But ZipRealty agents also racked up 376 closed listings — transactions in which the company represented sellers — nearly twice as many as the 217 closed last year.

Closed listings were up by an even more dramatic 90 percent in the 12 markets that ZipRealty has entered since March of 2007 and still defines as "new markets."

ZipRealty does business in 35 markets, under a business model that assumes the company will pay rebates to buyers equal to 20 percent of its share of commissions. Home sellers are offered discounts of up to 25 percent of standard commissions in their particular market.

In its most recent annual report to investors, ZipRealty reported approximately 2.6 million active registered website users who had accessed the site within the last year

While the total value of real estate transactions closed by ZipRealty agents in the first quarter was up 18.7 percent, to $1.1 billion, average net transaction revenue fell 1 percent, to $5,067.

ZipRealty said Tuesday that first-quarter revenue was up 18.8 percent from a year ago, to $25.8 million, as the company’s 3,000 agents boosted total transaction sides by 17.5 percent.

The brokerage remained in the red as operating expenses grew by 8.5 percent, to $32.1 million, but the $6.2 million loss for the quarter was down from $7.5 million a year ago.

ZipRealty restated earlier guidance that net revenue is expected to grow between 10 percent to 20 percent this year, and that the brokerage expects a smaller annual loss than the $12.9 million net loss posted in 2009.


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