There are signs of life at LoopNet
Revenue climbed 9% to $20 million, just ahead of the $19.9 million that the pros were targeting. Earnings more than doubled to $0.17 a share, but that includes a laundry list of beneficial one-time events. Back those out and LoopNet earned just $0.05 a share. It's exactly what Wall Street was banking on, and less than the $0.07 a share it cranked out a year earlier during the same period.
LoopNet relies on subscription revenue to generate roughly two-thirds of its revenue, and the news isn't encouraging on that front. After posting back-to-back quarters of sequential growth in premium subscribers, LoopNet's rolls continue stagnating at 68,608 folks paying an average of $66.62 a month for enhanced access to LoopNet's 788,330 property listings during the final three months of last year.
Most visitors lean on LoopNet as a free resource. There was an average of 2.4 million unique monthly visitors across its various websites last month, several times over LoopNet's premium subscriber count.
In a sign that should be encouraging for LoopNet as well as for the state of commercial real estate, LoopNet listings received 67 million profile views during the quarter. A year ago, traffic to the site was only good for 46.6 million profile views. This also compares favorably to the 64.2 million profile views that LoopNet served up during the third quarter, so don't let the sequential dip in premium subscribers force you into thinking that demand is waning for commercial real estate.
Analysts seem to believe that this will be a good year for the industry. They see commercial real estate specialist CB Richard Ellis
LoopNet and occasionally bitter rival CoStar Group
LoopNet is currently trading for slightly less than its 2006 IPO price of $12. Commercial real estate was still hot then. A year later, LoopNet would have more than 90,000 premium subscribers on its books.
However, the ever-expanding popularity of the Internet -- and LoopNet's pole position as the top online marketplace -- will bode well for investors when the commercial real estate market truly does bounce back.
When will commercial real estate bounce back into favor? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has never dabbled in commercial real estate outside of the Monopoly board, though he wants you to know that he can hand you Boardwalk and Park Place at the beginning of the game and still beat you. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.