The Rising Sun: CoStar Enters Residential Real Estate (2021)

CoStar’s surprise acquisition of Homesnap, a residential real estate data startup was a non-event outside of real estate. Within the residential real estate industry, however, that acquisition clearly signaled that a major new power had entered the industry.

But the residential real estate industry is largely ignorant of CoStar, a dominant giant in commercial real estate. Most of the executives in brokerages, franchises, MLS and Associations, and even technology companies don’t know much about CoStar. We thought it might be useful for industry leaders to understand who CoStar is, its history of growth, and what CoStar might or might not do in residential real estate.

At the same time, investors who do know CoStar often don’t know the weirdness that is the residential real estate industry. It is nearly impossible to explain the opaque and difficult to understand landscape of residential real estate.

This report represents our best effort at bridging that divide, while engaging in some informed speculation about what the future holds. But it is, we think, the most informed speculation available on this subject. Of that, we are confident.

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Description

We return to the Red Dot reports for the first time since 2019 with this special report on CoStar.

CoStar’s surprise acquisition of Homesnap, a residential real estate data startup was a non-event outside of real estate.

Within the residential real estate industry, however, that acquisition clearly signaled that a major new power had entered the industry. Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, recently compared competition in the residential sector to the film “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” between Redfin, Zillow, Compass, “and now CoStar.”

But the residential real estate industry is largely ignorant of CoStar, a dominant giant in commercial real estate. Most of the executives in brokerages, franchises, MLS and Associations, and even technology companies don’t know much about CoStar. We thought it might be useful for industry leaders to understand who CoStar is, its history of growth, and what CoStar might or might not do in residential real estate.

At the same time, investors who do know CoStar often don’t know the weirdness that is the residential real estate industry. It is nearly impossible to explain the opaque and difficult to understand landscape of residential real estate.

This report represents our best effort at bridging that divide, while engaging in some informed speculation about what the future holds. But it is, we think, the most informed speculation available on this subject. Of that, we are confident.

We go through CoStar and its history, who it is today in commercial real estate, the executive team, and some of the issues they have encountered over the years. We then lay out Homesnap and its history, as well as the background intelligence on the residential real estate industry and disruptions within it, to help you understand the context. And at the heart of the report is our take on what the potential impact of CoStar’s move into residential space might mean for brokerages, MLS and Associations, technology companies, and for the individual real estate agent on the ground.

We named the report The Rising Sun, because the sun is also a star… and it rises in the East.

Note: There are not multiple versions of this report, because we have eliminated the Recommendations section tailored to each industry segment. Instead, we are deducting the price of this Report from the hourly rate for phone consultations with 7DS Associates.

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