Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

AI home-buying and how it could change real estate

(Courtesy of Zillow)
(Courtesy of Zillow)

Have you heard of iBuying in the housing market?

“In principle, iBuying simply means I go online and I want to sell my house. And somebody is willing to buy it off of my hands for cash quickly,” finance professor Gregor Matvos says.

And it happens quickly, because it’s driven by an algorithm.

Zillow had huge hopes for iBuying — quickly scooping up thousands of homes in all cash deals. But the algorithm misread the market, and Zillow’s project tanked.

But they’re not the only ones in iBuying business. There’s Opendoor, and Redfin:

“We would never just have a computer algorithm determine what your home is worth, because it could have a problem with the foundation, something that’s really hard to fix,” Redfin’s CEO Glenn Kelman says.

Today, On Point: All cash, high speed, supposedly high efficiency. Algorithmic home-buying and how it could change real estate.


Gregor Matvos, professor and chair in finance at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Research associate in the Corporate Finance Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Jeff Meyers, CEO of Zonda, a data intelligence company that informs, advises and connects housing industry experts.

Also Featured

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin. (@glennkelman)

Rachel Quednau, program director of Strong Towns. (@StrongTowns)

This article was originally published on

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit

To make informed decisions, the public must receive unbiased truth.

As Southwestern Pennsylvania’s only independent public radio news and information station, we give voice to provocative ideas that foster a vibrant, informed, diverse and caring community.

WESA is primarily funded by listener contributions. Your financial support comes with no strings attached. It is free from commercial or political influence…that’s what makes WESA a free vital community resource. Your support funds important local journalism by WESA and NPR national reporters.

You give what you can, and you get news you can trust.
Please give now to continue providing fact-based journalism — a monthly gift of just $5 or $10 makes a big difference.