Last week was pretty good for investors in homebuilders, but it was downright outstanding for investors feeling that the smartest way to play the real estate boom is by buying into the websites arming consumers with information.
Most of last week's biggest winners were the dot-com housing plays. Some of the more prolific names even came through with double-digit gains on the week. Let's take a closer look at four of the standout performers of the past week.
|Company||May 23||Weekly Gain|
Let's start with E-House. The niche's biggest leader isn't a stateside play at all. E-House is a Chinese provider of online and offline real estate services. It posted blowout quarterly results Tuesday. Revenue soared 40%, and E-House's profit of $0.08 a share was twice as much Wall Street was expecting. The cherry on top is that it boosted its top-line guidance. Revenue from online services now makes up nearly half of E-House's revenue in China.
Half of Move's gains came on Friday, clearly carrying over from the Analyst and Investor Day that it hosted on Thursday afternoon. "Accelerating our momentum" was the theme of Move's presentation, as it explained how it expects to build on the housing boom that's seen inquiries growing even faster than the vigorous real estate activity.
Move is the parent company of Realtor.com, which along with other consumer-facing websites derives 77% of Move's revenue. As the official Realtor-backed app, it prides itself on having the most up-to-date information that's updated every 15 minutes.
There wasn't any company-specific news out of Zillow and Trulia. Zillow's chief economist appeared on CNBC and Bloomberg Radio's Radio Surveillance, but he spoke more about general housing trends than about Zillow matters. Zillow had issued a report earlier this week, pointing out that nearly a fifth of mortgages are still underwater and the impact that it has on the market.
Zillow and Trulia didn't directly earn last week's double-digit percentage gains -- in Zillow's case resulting in a new high -- but it's only natural to see the two fast-growing real estate portals move in sympathy with the others gaining ground. The providers of online services for the real estate industry will continue to thrive.