Technology-based brokerage ZipRealty Inc. says it’s closer to its goal of achieving positive cash flow, trimming third-quarter losses to under $1 million even as revenue fell 18 percent from a year ago.

Net revenue for July, August and September totaled $23.3 million as ZipRealty agents tallied 3,706 transaction sides, down 27 percent from a year ago. But average net transaction revenue per closing grew by nearly 12 percent from a year ago, to $5,943, the company said in announcing third-quarter results.

The Emeryville, Calif.-based company began the year by closing offices in 12 of 35 markets with the goal of slashing $20 million in operating costs, and has since eliminated buyer rebates and expanded a "Powered by Zip" referral program in which the company generates leads for other brokers.

At the end of September, ZipRealty had 2,043 agents, down from 2,197 at the end of June and 3,305 a year ago. That helped the company slash total operating costs and expenses for the quarter by nearly 28 percent from a year ago, to $24.2 million.

ZipRealty’s net loss for the quarter was $845,000, compared with a net loss of $5.1 million a year ago. Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $736,000, compared with negative $3.6 million a year ago.

"Our primary operating objective for 2011 has been to move ZipRealty to a cash flow-positive position while beginning to amplify the company’s central strengths in marketing and technology," CEO Lanny Baker said in a statement.

"Adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter is a clear indication of our progress toward near-term financial goals, and a series of important product and marketing launches in the third quarter demonstrate our commitment to extending ZipRealty’s core advantages."

Last month, ZipRealty dropped a registration requirement on its website to view listing details on for-sale homes in most of its markets and updated its mobile applications.

The company issued guidance saying it expects full year 2011 net revenues to total approximately $87.5 million, with an adjusted EBITDA loss of approximately $3 million. That compares with a $9.9 million EBITDA loss in 2010 on net revenues of $118.7 million.

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