Real estate giant Zillow is issuing $1.1 billion U.S. in new bonds to continue its transformation from a debt-light listings firm to a capital-intensive home flipper.
The company is issuing two tranches of senior notes, one priced at $600 million and maturing in 2024, the other priced at $500 million and maturing in 2026, according to a statement.
The company says it will use the proceeds, in part, for “investment purposes.” But multiple analysts quoted by Seeking Alpha expect the main purpose is to sustain Zillow’s aggressive expansion of its home-flipping business, Zillow Offers, launched last year. In Q3 2018, when it first reported financials for Offers, Zillow had sold 36 homes. During the last quarter, the number was up to 786.
But the company is buying homes twice as fast as it’s selling them (During Q2, it bought 1,535 homes, according to a shareholder letter.)
Analyst Jake Fuller of Guggenheim Investment wonders if the current bond issue will be enough to keep pace with Zillow Offers’ growth. He calculated the company would need to take on $3 billion in debt to get it through 2020.