A Look at iBuyers’ Expanding Footprint
ATTOM Data Solutions, property database curator, has been researching the U.S. housing markets where iBuyers are knowingly present along with home prices data in those markets to see how each market is fluctuating.
According to ATTOM Data Solutions Chief Technology Officer Todd Teta, iBuyers have been expanding at breakneck speeds. “What started as a moonshot idea six years ago has now blossomed into a massive, billion-dollar homebuying market in its own right — and it’s not showing any signs of slowing.”
Opendoor brought the idea to life in 2013, quickly followed by competitor Offerpad. Since then, countless others have hit the scene — including Redfin (via RedfinNow) and Zillow (via Instant Offers). Indeed, Zillow is betting big on its iBuyer program, having recently announced expansion plans for 2020.
But it’s not just more players that are getting in on the game, said Teta. There’s also a footprint expansion happening, too. And though most of the major iBuyers got their start in the Phoenix area, this new home-selling option has reached far beyond the borders of Arizona’s biggest city.
By the looks of it, that reach is going even further heading into 2019. The infographic below helps illustrate the phenomenon.
Where iBuyers Operate
Regionally, the South has the most iBuyer action, with Phoenix essentially the epicenter of it all. Three players launched there (Opendoor, Offerpad and Offerdepot). Zillow’s Instant Offers also now operates in the city.
Texas also has a big iBuyer presence. Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio all have at least one iBuyer in the market, and a few players have plans to expand further into the Lone Star State later this year. Notably, Keller Williams recently launched its iBuyer program in the Dallas-Fort Worth market.
North Carolina (specifically Raleigh and Charlotte), as well as Florida, California and Georgia also have decent iBuying activity as well. Atlanta is one of the few cities to have most of the big players in the market. Opendoor, Offerpad and Zillow are all on the ground in Atlanta.
For the most part, iBuyers are shying away from markets in the North and Northeast parts of the country. Housing affordability (and availability) likely plays a role in this, as does overall consistency of existing housing stock. iBuyers rely heavily on data and algorithms when evaluating potential properties. Areas with inconsistent and highly unique housing makes this approach less reliable (and less profitable.)
Where iBuyers are Headed
For the most part, iBuying is going to be much of the same this year: more Southern and suburban markets with largely affordable housing inventory. Offerpad just expanded into Houston at the start of the year, and the company has its sights set on another Lone Star State city next: San Antonio. (Opendoor is already operating in both cities).
Opendoor has reportedly started buying homes in Los Angeles, though it has yet to make an official announcement of expanding into the area just yet. The company is also apparently considering a move into Washington, D.C. — which would mark iBuying’s first real dip into the Northeastern waters.
Other iBuyers haven’t made official announcements as to where they’re headed this year, but with the number of investments being made into this movement (not to mention the institutional interest in it), we can likely expect some serious growth on the horizon.
Where will this money take them, though? Only time will tell.
The iBuyer Market Reach
In many of the markets where iBuyers are present, we are seeing home prices reach their peaks in 2018. For instance, the Atlanta market, where Opendoor, Offerpad and Zillow are currently present, home prices have increased 62 percent in 5 years and reached their peak in 2018.
Other markets to reach their peak in 2018, where iBuyers are present include: Charlotte, Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver and Houston.
Those markets, where the iBuyer footprint is casting a wider net with the presence of Opendoor, Offerpad and Zillow include; Las Vegas, Orlando, and Phoenix, all of which have seen double digit increases in home prices.