Demand to FTC: ban Zillow.com valuations

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a coalition of community activist groups, has charged free-home-valuation site Zillow.com with undervaluing homes in black and Hispanic neighborhoods. “It urged the F.T.C. to start an investigation and permanently restrain Zillow from providing home value estimates.” (Damon Darlin, “A Home Valuation Web Site Is Accused of Discrimination”, New York Times, Oct. 31).

4 Comments

  • These people are way off the mark in alleging discrimination. Zillow is a bizarre mix of outdated assessments and outright fantasy; sometimes oddly high, sometimes weirdly low. I’d be shocked if there was any articulable pattern in it at all, let alone an invidious purpose.

  • I have to think this is a put-up job by the realtors to restrain competition, since the only service they provide for their 6% monopoly commission is their database of comps. Yet another example of how consumer advocacy groups hurt consumers.

  • Wow. I have never seen such stupid people in my life. These morons actually believe that people get mortgages based on Zillow valuations.

    I blame the public school system.

  • A side story of note is, how does a “community activist group” nobody’s ever heard of bring an admittedly baseless charge and get play in the NYT, without any quote from an actual person at said “community activist group”? (And how do I get a “community activist group,” anyway? None of these outfits have ever spoken for me, and I’m in the community, aren’t I?)

    I realize the FTC complaint is a good hook. But if “the organization also asserted, but would not provide substantiation for the accusation, that real estate and lending industry professionals use Zillow’s information to ‘perpetrate fraud'”, why not press them on it?

    The answer is that anyone who charges racial discrimination (in the usual fashion) gets a generous, no-hard-questions-asked presentation from the MSM. It’s up the target to run for cover, apologize profusely for nothing, make a shakedown payment, start a sensitivity training program, hire a pricey ‘diversity consultant,’ fire a few white males, install a VP of Multiculturalism and otherwise go into white guilt hysterics. The media cannot bring itself to ask even mildly challenging questions about charges like these. But if it won’t hold a “community activist group” to the same standard it holds an evil corporation, who’s doing the discriminating?