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Two Real Estate Tech Legacy Companies Make Consolidation Moves

The last few days have been interesting for the real estate technology industry. Two of the original digital real estate technology companies were part of acquisitions, one getting bought and the other doing the buying. REIS, a commercial property research and data provider, was bought in an all-cash transaction by risk assessment agency Moody’s for $278 million. At almost the same time, Move, Inc, the owners of a network of real estate websites the largest being Realtor.com, purchased real estate referral platform Opcity for $210 million.

Both of these companies were on the forefront of the digital revolution in the property industry. REIS was started in 1980 as a newsletter but didn’t take its current shape until 1996 when their CD ROM and “dail up” versions were created. Since then they have become listed on the NASDAQ and grown to around 18 million properties in 275 metro markets and 7,700 submarkets.

Move, Inc was started in 1996 and has had a longstanding partnership with the National Association of Realtors to operate Realtor.com. They were originally Homestore, Inc but went through a hard time when the dot-com bubble burst and some of their officers were convicted of insider trading and sentenced to prison.

REIS is likely a target of Moody’s acquisition strategy because of their data. They have been compiling and refining their database for decades and can give Moody’s better insight into the property market. Understanding the property market is obviously important for Moody’s as they have invested in and partnered with open source leasing comp database Compstack.

Move, Inc is probably buying Opcity for its code. The company has matching algorithms that can effectively refer opportunities within the real estate industry and act like lead generation. Move, Inc says that it will give the agents and brokers on their platform the choice of being able to work leads themselves or work with Opcity’s concierge service that vets leads before distributing.

REIS and Move, Inc are quite different, one is commercial while the other is residential, one is a property database where the other has marketplace and software offerings. But both have been around for a long time and both seem to think that the time is now to be part of something bigger. These are relatively small companies so they don’t fundamentally change the power dynamic of digital real estate but they might be the precursors for an incoming tidal wave of consolidation.

Propmodo is a global multimedia effort to explore how emerging technologies affect our built environment.