Zillow’s skyrocketing growth continues

Revenue jumps 65 percent in 2014 to $325.9M

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Zillow, a company that operates the nation’s most popular real estate portal, continues to grow at a staggering rate, according to its fourth-quarter and 2014 earnings report released today.

The company grew its full-year revenue to $325.9 million in 2014, a 65 percent increase over 2013’s revenue total and nearly three times its 2012 revenue of $116.9 million.

Zillow posted a net loss of $43.6 million over the course of the year, but it attributed $21.5 million of that to costs related to its acquisition of Trulia, which Zillow expects to close as early as Feb. 17.

The merger news along with Zillow’s fourth-quarter revenue of $92.3 million, which beat Wall Street estimates by $2.3 million, has helped push Zillow’s share price up more than 5 percent in after-hours trading.

Screenshot of Zillow’s share price performance on Friday, Feb. 13. Source: Google Finance.

The timing of Zillow’s unscheduled earnings release — at 5 p.m. Eastern time on a Friday before a holiday weekend — paired with its decision to forgo an earnings conference call with investors has raised some eyebrows.

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While Zillow management won’t be discussing the earnings results for 2014 or the fourth quarter, it has scheduled a call for Feb. 18 at 9 a.m. Eastern time to discuss the Trulia acquisition.

More than two-thirds of Zillow’s fourth-quarter revenue came from agent subscribers who paid an average of $359 per month to advertise on the portal over those three months.

Zillow ended the year with a total of 62,305 agents paying to advertise on the portal, but the rate at which it’s adding new agent subscribers has slowed substantially.

Zillow added a net 1,428 agents over the course of the fourth quarter from the end of the third. That’s less than half the net quarter-over-quarter growth Zillow saw in the fourth quarter a year ago.

When this deceleration first became apparent in August, Zillow explained it away as part of a strategy it launched in early 2014 to target top-producing agents and not the general masses.