As house prices soar to record levels, some observers point out that the technology-driven buying process contributes to the madness of the housing market. In a recent viral TikTok video, real estate agent Sean Gotcher said that a billion-dollar real estate company, with a website that “everyone visits, is leveraging user data to figure out where you can profitably buy homes. Some tech companies, such as Zillow and Redfin, think they can even buy and sell homes online, and dream of becoming the Amazon of what is known as “iBuying”. This anxiety isn't new, but it has been electrified over the course of the pandemic, as a hot housing market and historic housing shortages have left out young, first-time homebuyers.
In mid-September, he posted a TikTok alleging that an unnamed “billionaire” real estate company used the data it collected from users to buy homes to manipulate the price of real estate in areas known to be of high interest. But they are finding that buying and selling assets worth hundreds of thousands of dollars is a little more difficult as an online industry than buying and selling books.