Zillow has raised its expectations for pricing of an initial public offering to $16 to $18 a share — a figure that would value the company at up to $494 million, according to the company’s latest regulatory filing.

Shares in the real estate listing and valuation portal, which also connects consumers to real estate agents and mortgage lenders, are expected to begin trading next week. Zillow could raise up to $71.7 million in the IPO if the 3.9 million shares it plans to offer to investors and through a private placement sell at the top end of the expected range.

If underwriters of the IPO exercise an over-allotment option, Zillow would have nearly 27.5 million shares outstanding after the IPO, worth nearly $500 million at $18 a share. If the over-allotment option is not exercised, the 26.9 million shares outstanding would be worth $431 million if priced at $16 a share, the low end of Zillow’s estimate.

Just last week, the company said it expected its shares would sell for $12 to $14, which would have valued the company at about $350 million.

Zillow’s regulatory filings suggest that after racking up $79.5 million in losses since 2004, the company is headed toward profitability, having trimmed net losses from $21.2 million in 2008 to $6.8 million in 2010.

Display-ad revenue grew by 27 percent from 2009-10, to $17.2 million, and "marketplace revenues," including ads sold through the Premier Agent program and Zillow’s Mortgage Marketplace, were up 238 percent, to $13.2 million.

Zillow counted 10,710 Premier Agent subscribers at the end of March, more than three times the 3,438 subscribers tallied at the same time a year ago.

Zillow and competitor Trulia, which has also announced it will pursue an IPO, may also benefit from renewed interest in IPOs on the part of investors. During the downturn, many companies put plans to go public on hold.

After racking up $9.45 million in losses in its first two years of operation, in January 2008 online real estate company Iggys House abandoned plans to raise $14.2 million in an initial public offering.

Iggys House was subsequently acquired by Webdigs Inc., which relaunched IggysHouse.com in January 2010 with a new business model.

But in the first seven months of operation, IggysHouse.com generated only $2,026 in revenue, and "the prospects for the brand reaching a breakeven point seem dim," Webdigs said in its most recent annual report to investors.

But this year has produced a bumper crop of IPOs, including HomeAway Inc., the operator of a network of websites that match homeowners with travelers looking for vacation rentals and sales.

HomeAway raised $231 million in an IPO that closed last week, with shares opening at $27 per share on June 29 and closing above $40 on the first day of trading, the Austin American-Statesman reported.

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