U.S. online giant Zillow launches first Canadian property listings


After months of speculation and outreach to the Canadian real estate industry, U.S. online giant Zillow begins posting Canadian properties on its site and mobile app on Tuesday.

The Seattle-based company has agreements to receive more than 50,000 Canadian listings, including those from Century 21, Right at Home Realty and Toronto-based Re/Max Ultimate Realty. The listings will be published in batches, starting with about 10,000 properties with others coming online in the weeks and months ahead, said Errol Samuelson, Zillow’s Vancouver-based chief industry development officer.

Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.
Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.

He is in Toronto this week meeting with about 75 industry leaders to discuss how they can partner with Zillow and to demonstrate the software that is available to brokers and agents here.

Just as with American listings on Zillow.com, the Canadian posts will display the listing agent’s name and contact details, including links to the brokerage. That information is posted free. Agents here can also post a profile or video with their free listing, something that some Canadian agents have already begun.

Eventually, the Canadian listings on Zillow will evolve to match the company’s U.S. business model, which allows other agents to pay to have their details appear next to a listing in order to harvest leads.

Home buyers can search by city, neighbourhood or a specific address.

The previous selling prices of Canadian homes won’t be available at first, but Samuelson said he hopes that will come in time, depending on the rules.

“In the U.S. in most markets we show the full listing history. Our goal is to show the same information in Canada because consumers find it super useful. Having said that, we will abide by the local customs and laws,” he said.

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Canadian listings will be available on the Zillow site and its mobile app.

The company has a mobile-first policy, said Samuelson, adding that, “Mobile may be a way consumers really fall in love.”

“If you look at our market share for mobile users, we’ve got 75 per cent market share because we put so much emphasis on the mobile devices,” said Samuleson.

Zillow claims to attract more than 100 million visits a year from non-U.S. users.

Samuelson described Zillow as “a complement” to the most popular Canadian real estate search site, Realtor.ca.

Tess Kalinowski is a Toronto-based reporter covering real estate. Follow her on Twitter: @tesskalinowski


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