Online real estate specialist Zillow (Z -1.45%) (ZG -1.27%) announced Monday that it is putting a temporary stop to home buying through its popular Zillow Offers portal.

As with many other business shutdowns, this is due to the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus throughout the world. Zillow's move is in line with emergency measures taken in many municipalities limiting contacts and gatherings between people aimed at keeping the virus at bay.

Zillow Offers, which the company launched in April 2018, is essentially an express home sale and buying service. Homeowners wanting or needing to get their domicile quickly onto the market sell it directly to Zillow, which turns around and stages it for showings, and after turning it around sells it on to new owners.

SOLD sign on the lawn of a house.

Image source: Getty Images

Since its launch, Zillow Offers has expanded to 24 housing markets around the U.S. That rapid growth has rapidly grown Zillow's top line; in the company's most recently reported quarter, its total revenue rose by almost 160% over the same period the previous year to hit $944 million. That increase was due largely to the core "homes" segment Zillow Offers, which increased its sales by over $560 million across that stretch.

Despite that, Zillow sounded a confident note about its decision to halt the service for now. It said it is "well positioned to navigate these unprecedented times.We already slowed our pace of acquiring homes over the past month, while our pace of home sales in the quarter accelerated." The company also touted the strength of its balance sheet and cash position.