A South Florida-based real estate listings site is partnering with a large local investment manager to put more muscle into the platform.
Miami-based Houses.com, which operates as both a real estate classifieds site and online brokerage, said it entered a “definitive joint venture agreement” with Coral Gables-based Bayview Asset Management. Bayview is one of the largest Miami-area hedge funds, claiming $4.3 billion in assets under management. The company specializes in investing into real estate-backed financial products.
The partnership will be a two-way street that will involve investment in Houses.com by Bayview and allow Bayview to list some of its vast property inventory online, according to Houses.com CEO Richard Swerdlow.
“As a significant financial institution, they have their own inventory, which we’re going to present on the site,” Swerdlow told the Daily Business Review. “But the idea is to grow our traffic through digital marketing. The partnership is really to help us grow organic traffic and paid traffic. It will help us really grow the business.”
An influx of capital into the platform also will help add more functionality to the site.
“It’s a combination of brand increasing and also enhanced marketing as well as adding a whole suite of functionality,” Swerdlow said, describing future plans for the property.
Houses.com has 5 million property listings and 2 million annual visitors, Swerdlow said. The site makes money both by charging for website advertising and by asking a fee for referrals to brokers.
The transaction highlights what is becoming an active market for real estate listings portal deals. In March, commercial property data analytics firm CoStar said it would pay $585 million to acquire online apartment search engine Apartments.com. CoStar previously scooped up online commercial brokerage LoopNet for $860 million.
Swerdlow has long been involved in online property listings, founding Internet condo marketplace Condo.com in 2005. His luck mirrored the fate of the market during the last real estate boom, with Condo.com becoming a go-to place for condo-flippers and seeing reduced traffic after the housing market collapsed. He picked up the domain name Houses.com in 2011.
Swerdlow said he hopes the growth plans for his site will nurture Miami’s growing community of digital marketing professionals.
“Years ago, you couldn’t find good resources, but now Miami has become something of a hotbed” for digital marketing, he said.