Zillow, it seems, has over-flipped.
The company that has prided itself on its technology to outsource a lot of human work is suddenly referring the work right back to humans. Zillow Group’s automated home-flipping business has stopped pursuing new home acquisitions temporarily, Bloomberg reported on Sunday. In a statement for this article, a Zillow spokesperson said in an email it is “beyond operational capacity in [its] Zillow Offers business.” Zillow said it is now connecting homeowners looking to sell their home to its local Premier Agent partners.
The pause seems to be a case of poor planning—a surprising lapse for a company that has been in the online real-estate business for nearly 17 years. Rather than a cash issue, Zillow is saying it experienced supply constraints having to do with on-the-ground workers and vendors. Leave it to a technology company to develop an algorithm to predict home values, but mismanage the human aspect of its business.
Financially, your car is behaving more like your home right now, bringing new opportunities and hard-to-foresee risks.
Used-vehicle values have broken records over the past year, with inflation running at an unprecedented 24%, according to the latest official data. This is painful for car buyers, but there is a less-discussed flip side: It is a great time to be a car owner.
American car loans resemble home loans, but in normal times the assets behave differently. Typically, homes appreciate in value whereas vehicles depreciate. This has the effect that car owners often have negative equity in their car, meaning they owe more than the car is worth. While this would be a stressful situation for homeowners—and their lenders—it is almost routine for car owners. People often make up the difference when they trade wheels, either with cash or extra debt.