It’s not happening here (yet) but several articles on US websites have started talking up the possibility of Amazon going into the online house sales business.
The speculation began on Tuesday when the retail giant posted a ‘Hire A Realtor’ web page - now deleted by Amazon although you can see it here - within the Home and Business Services section of its US site.
The page had a general ‘Coming Soon’ message and invited users to enter a US postcode to find their local realtors - although no companies or individuals were actually listed and the page certainly looked like early work in progress.
Some of the speculation appears to be putting two and two together and coming up with five, but several strands have emerged to support the idea:
A US website called Record says it has evidence of Amazon recruiting a ‘geek squad’ of people to install and repair home-based devices, giving the firm a foothold in the domestic hi-tech appliance sector for the first time;
Housingwire, another website across the pond, says Amazon is already a source for many US households to find cleaners, electricians and other tradespeople...so the stretch to find a realtor or even a home on sale is perhaps not so big;
The Geekwire site reports that when the Hire A Realtor page was spotted, the share price of Zillow (comparable to Rightmove in the UK) fell from $46.15 to $44.54 within a few hours, with analysts linking the drop to the Amazon speculation;
Potential revenue for Amazon in the US real estate market is immense. Zillow’s revenue was $846m last year while Redfin - another portal, but one that employs its own estate agents - says it aims to raise $100m by floating on the stock market.
The San Francisco Chronicle failed to get any comment on the issue from Amazon in the US and Estate Agent Today yesterday contacted the UK part of the company to see if there was any prospect of the retailer entering this country’s property market.
So far, there’s been no response.