The Zillow Group has announced it will shut down Naked Apartments, its New York City-focused rentals site, four years after acquiring it for $13 million.
The site will stop working October 28. After that traffic will be redirected to StreetEasy, the Zillow-owned site that lists rental and for-sale properties in New York.
The move comes at a hard time in the New York City rental business. During the pandemic, many renters have left the city in search of cheaper rent and more space. Vacancies in Manhattan have climbed to a 14-year high and average rent in September was down 11% year-on-year.
Shutting down Naked Apartments appears to be a streamlining measure, as well as an acknowledgement that the site contributed little to Zillow’s New York operations.
Zillow had previously consolidated its New York listings distribution so that the same local rental inventory appears across all its real estate portals: not only Naked Apartments and Streeteasy but also its national sites, Zillow, Trulia and Hotpads.
“Fortunately, all the same apartments you see on NakedApartments.com are already on other Zillow Group sites, including our flagship NYC brand, StreetEasy,” Zillow’s statement read.
When Zillow purchased Naked Apartments in 2016 for $13 million, the site had several unique features, including a tour-booking tool and a map that showed the nearest subway lines. However, StreetEasy has since incorporated both features into its site.
StreetEasy also has several times the traffic of Naked Apartments. In September, the site had 6.2 million visits compared to 420,000 to Naked Apartments, according to SimilarWeb.
Zillow says it’s not worried about losing traffic and believes its network approach in New York will continue to build on Zillow’s strength there.
Over the past two months, sales leads generated via Zillow’s New York network have grown nearly 20% compared to the same period last year, the company said.
Zillow does not expect the change will involve layoffs. When Naked Apartments was purchased in 2016, it employed 13 people. A small team continues to maintain the site. Those employees will now focus on StreetEasy, the company said.