What happened

Shares of Zillow Group (NASDAQ:ZG) (NASDAQ:Z) jumped as much as 17% on Friday following the release of the real estate services company's first-quarter results. As of 3:10 p.m. EDT today, Zillow's stock was up 10%.

So what

Revenue soared 148% year over year to $1.1 billion, driven by a sixfold increase in its Zillow Offers home-flipping business.

Notably, revenue growth in Zillow's Premier Agent business, which sells leads to real estate agents, accelerated to 11% in the first quarter, up from 6% in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Additionally, adjusted EBITDA came in above management's guidance at $5.1 million.

Better still, the company's adjusted net loss per share of $0.25 bested Wall Street's estimates for an adjusted loss of $0.35. 

"During Q1, we learned the true value of home," CEO Rich Barton said in a press release. "We also learned real estate is resilient, as we're seeing clear signals that people are still shopping for homes and want to move." 

A house with a sold sign in front of it

Even during a global pandemic, people still want to buy homes. Image source: Getty Images.

Now what

Zillow is cutting costs in order to preserve cash during the coronavirus pandemic, to be better able to withstand an ensuing economic downturn. The company exited the first quarter with $2.6 billion in cash reserves. "We started the year strong, coming off a solid 2019, and ended the first quarter with an even stronger balance sheet, including a record cash balance," Barton said.  

Despite the operational challenges the real estate industry is facing during the pandemic, people are still buying and selling homes. Zillow is helping to facilitate the process with tools such as 3D house tours that enable virtual closings.

In turn, Zillow plans to restart its Zillow Offers program in the coming weeks. It had halted its home-buying efforts in March due to uncertainty surrounding the impact of COVID-19 on home sales. 

Barton said Zillow is committed to helping people find homes that can keep them safe during the COVID-19 crisis. "The sanctuary of home has never been more important than it is right now," he said.