Zillow said Monday it will temporarily stop buying homes in all 24 markets where it operates in response to public health orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the latest real estate startup to shift how it operates as the disease caused by coronavirus continues to spread.
Zillow said it decided to pause making offers to sellers after several counties and states, including California, Illinois, Louisiana, Ohio, New York and Nevada, implemented emergency orders requiring people to stay home and all non-essential business activities, including some real estate-related activities, to stop.
Zillow follows action from other real estate startups such as Opendoor and Redfin to temporarily pause making offers on homes.
"We plan to restore Zillow Offers full operations once health concerns pass and local health orders are lifted," Zillow Group CEO and co-founder Rich Barton said in a statement. "In the meantime, we are working to support our customers and partners in these uncertain times when home has never been more important."
The company started to slow its pace of buying homes last month, while accelerating sales in the quarter, Barton said. Zillow's inventory is now 1,860 homes, a 31% decline from 2,707 homes at the end of 2019.
The company said it will continue to market and sell homes through "Zillow Offers," and will temporarily suspend plans to open additional Zillow Offers markets. Zillow also halted open houses in all markets, beginning last week.
"We have a strong balance sheet and cash position, and are taking proactive steps to reduce spending to offset the important financial support we're giving our industry partners so we may continue to best serve our mutual customers," added Barton.