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iBuyers scale back amid housing market uncertainty

Opendoor and Offerpad report net losses in Q1 2023

With mortgage rates fluctuating, banks collapsing, and homebuyers and sellers sitting on the sidelines, the two publicly traded iBuyers, Opendoor and Offerpad, took cautious approaches to the first quarter of 2023. 

Both firms scaled their property acquisitions back significantly, with Opendoor acquiring just 1,747 homes during a quarter, down 81% year over year. Offerpad, on the other hand, purchased just 364 homes in Q1, an annual drop of 87%. 

“The number of new listings within our buy box was down almost 25% in the first quarter versus the prior year,” Carrie Wheeler, the CEO of Opendoor, told investors and analysts during the firm’s first-quarter earnings call Thursday evening. “Market clearance is trading higher than expected as a result of this lack of supply, but the outlook for home prices continues to be uncertain. In light of this macro backdrop, it is imperative that we continue to operate with caution and discipline.” 

Despite the cautious approach, Opendoor still recorded a 39% annual decrease in revenue to $3.1 billion, and the firm’s losses continue to mount, as the iBuyer reported a net loss of $101 million, compared to a net income of $28 million in Q1 2022.

In addition to the decrease in property acquisitions, the number of homes sold by Opendoor also decreased, dropping 35% year over year to 8,274 homes. At the end of the quarter, the firm had an inventory balance of $2.1 billion, representing 6,261 homes, a yearly decrease of 55%. 

Executives, however, were excited to report that the firm has resold 92% of its Q2 2022 cohort of homes, and they expect the new book of homes to generate contribution margins in excess of their annual contribution margin. 

The firm also had positive news about its Opendoor Exclusives platform, with executives reporting that almost 60% of sellers in its pilot market of Plano, Texas had agreed to enroll in Opendoor Exclusives during the first quarter of the year. 

“We are tapping into this customer segment called the latent seller, which is a seller that wants to sell at some point, with a timeline to be determined, but they don’t want to list it right now. But they do want to sell it if it is easy; they love the offers, and they want to do it in a way that is seamless,” Wheeler said. “What is interesting about that to us is that those customers are incremental to what we are seeing on the sell direct side. We are seeing buyers engage with the platform because they are getting homes there they can’t get anywhere else.”

Offerpad, the smaller of the two iBuyers, also reported weaker financial results for the quarter. Revenue was down 56% year over year to $609.6 million, and the firm reported a net loss of $59.4 million compared to a net income of $41.0 million in Q1 2022.

Like Opendoor, Offerpad also saw a decrease in the number of homes it sold during the quarter, which dropped 55% year over year to 1,609 homes. But executives noted that 99% of the homes acquired prior to September 2022 were under contract as of the end of April, and so far, the homes they have underwritten in Q4 2022 and Q1 2023 show returns at or above the firm’s target range, leading executives to expect margins and contribution margins to trend upward in the coming quarters. 

“Importantly, we believe that our ability to execute and achieve profitability is not dependent on home price appreciation,” Brian Bair, the CEO of Offerpad, told investors and analysts during the firm’s first-quarter earnings call Wednesday evening. “We are prepared to perform through this period of depressed residential resale transaction volumes. There is plenty of upside if this broader market accelerates. However, our plan is not dependent on market acceleration.”

Looking ahead, Bair said he would like to see an improvement in average time to cash for homes purchased by the firm, which was 106 days in Q1. He expects it to normalize around 100 days by Q3 of this year. 

Bair also highlighted some of the other initiatives Offerpad has launched, including FLEX, which now has more than 100 agents enrolled; Direct Plus, which caters toward single-family rental companies and has already onboarded “several new investor partners with diverse buy boxes in target markets;” and Renovate, which provides renovation services on non-Offerpad single and multi-family homes.

During Q1 2023, Renovate completed approximately 225 projects. 

“Our goal is to deliver each person who contacts Offerpad with the best solution for their needs. This software and analytics update helps maintain one of our primary value propositions — a simpler, less stressful real estate experience,” Bair said. “As we navigated through the abrupt market shift last year, we used this time and experience to build an even better, more diverse business. We thrived in the hot buyers’ market during 2021. We adapted during the market shift in 2022, and we are demonstrating our ability to perform under the current market conditions, with improving operational and financial results.”