Dec 10, 2009
The US has Redfin, Trulia, Hotpads, ZipRealty, Roost, Cyberhomes, LoopNet, and Smarter Agent. What does Canada have? Canada has Peanuts. Canada has Century 21 suing Zoocasa for aggregating its listing data – and that’s about it.
Where is Canada’s real estate 2.0? To start with we should define ‘real estate 2.0’. The term 2.0 is derived from ‘web 2.0’. The word ‘web 2.0’ is defined by Wikipedia as “associated with web applications that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered design and collaboration on the World Wide Web.” If we replace the word ‘web’ with ‘real estate’ we may adjust the definition to read something like “Real Estate 2.0 is associated with real estate services that facilitate interactive information sharing, interoperability, user-centered processes and collaboration in the real estate market”.
This definition sounds like the antithesis of Canadian real estate. In Canada, there is relatively little real estate innovation (with regard to purchasing and buying) taking place and the current real estate model is lagging the United States. A brief overview of recent developments in US real estate technology highlight this point:
Last week, the US real estate company ZipRealty released a new iPhone application that enables house hunters in 4,897 cities and neighborhoods across the U.S. to search for available homes and view photos, prices and estimated values.
This week, Online US real estate brokerage Redfin announced inclusion of new mapping technology from Google allowing side views of homes. In November, Redfin raised another $10 million in venture capital to fuel its growth as a ‘game changing’ online brokerage providing cash back commission to consumers. Redfin defines itself as the ‘E-Trade’ of real estate.
Also this week, the US online real estate search engine Roost (www.roost.com) announced expansion of its services into eleven new metro regions. Roost has been successfully raising millions of dollars in Venture Capital with its stated goal to, “fundamentally change how customers find & move into their next home.”
The above is just a sample of the movement taking place in real estate offerings to US consumers. Canada just isn’t pulling its weight. Real estate technology news out of Canada has been about realtor.ca’s release of a mobile version of its site that is barely usable. And, about lawsuits involving the Canada Real Estate Association and real estate startups that threaten its near monopoly over resale listings.
So, to answer the question, where is Canada’s Real Esate 2.0? Unfortunately, its not here…yet.