News BriefRentals

Facebook debuts ‘hundreds of thousands’ of rental listings

The social network is expanding its Marketplace with listings from Apartment List and Zumper. Are mass sales listings next?

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Facebook has expanded its digital Marketplace product to include a special section for housing rentals with listings from sources including Apartment List and Zumper.

Before the partnership, the only rental listings on the Marketplace were user-created, and Facebook Product Manager Bowen Pan says having Apartment List and Zumper listings will expand the number and quality of listings on the site to the “hundreds of thousands.”

“Marketplace is a popular place for people to look for a home to rent,” Bowen said in a statement. “First with vehicles and now with housing rentals, we’re partnering with businesses to bring more ease and convenience for consumers,” he added.

Apartment List and Zumper have integrated their feeds into Facebook marketplace, enabling renters to see accurate and real-time updated listings.

The section includes custom filters for location, price, bedrooms, bathrooms, rental type, square footage and pet friendliness. Also, landlords will be able to upload 360 photos to individual rental listings, giving renters the opportunity to have an in-depth look at a property before visiting.

Users who find a listing they like can contact the listing owner directly from the app and provide contact information, such as an email address or phone number, to set up an in-person showing.

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A number of tech sites have noted the move puts Facebook into more direct competition with Craigslist, but it also seems to pose a threat to Airbnb.

Lastly, Facebook says it will be working with brokerages, agents and property managers to add more listings to the housing section. Indeed, in a statement from Facebook PR agency Outcast, the company said: “Marketplace will continue to explore a variety of new opportunities to partner with businesses, in addition to optimizing the consumer-to-consumer product experience.”

This raises the inevitable question: when — not if — will Facebook offer sales listings en masse? (The company has allowed agents and owners to list properties since the launch of Facebook Marketplace in October 2016, but doesn’t have partnerships for home sales listings.) And when it does, who will be its partners for that product?

Email Marian McPherson.