Redfin Surges Nearly 40% in Friday IPO

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After pricing its initial public offering (IPO) of 9.23 million shares at $15 per share on Thursday, online residential real-estate brokerage Redfin Corp. (NASDAQ: RDFN) saw its shares pop more than 30% shortly after trading began Friday morning. The IPO price was 15% higher than the midpoint of the estimated price range of $12 to $14.

Shares opened at $19.29 and rose to near $21 after about an hour of active trading. More than 5 million shares had traded hands in the first hour.

Underwriters for the IPO included Goldman Sachs, Allen, Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Oppenheimer and Stifel. The underwriters have an option to purchase an additional 1.38 million shares.

Gross proceeds from the offering totaled $138.45 million at a market cap of around $1.2 billion.

Redfin’s revenue rose 40% year over year last year, even though the company is still looking for its first profit.

The company’s technological underpinning has allowed it to charge about half as much as a traditional brokerage. Redfin charges home sellers a commission of 1.0% to 1.5%, compared to a 2.5% and 3.0% charge from traditional brokers.

One of the company’s current headwinds, blowing in the face of all real estate brokerages, is a shortage of inventory, especially at prices that first-time buyers can afford. CEO Glenn Kelman said in an interview earlier this year:

[The inventory shortage is] freaking us out, it’s affecting our business, it’s limiting our sales. We’re going to be fine in terms of market share but I think the overall industry for the first time is seeing sales volume really limited by the inventory crunch.

Halfway through the noon hour Friday, Redfin’s shares traded up nearly 38% at $20.66, after hitting high of $20.92.