After a Strong IPO, Analysts Suggest Redfin May Be Fully Valued

Jon C. Ogg

It turns out that not all high-profile initial public offerings have to be bad in 2017. Redfin Corp. (NASDAQ: RDFN) was quite successful for IPO investors. After having an indicated IPO range of $12 to $14 per share, Redfin’s IPO priced at $15 for its debut on July 28. Its shares hit $21.70 at the close of the first day of trading, and then shares briefly went above $30 in the days since.

Now the quiet period has come to an end and analysts who work at the underwriting syndicate firms have been freed up to initiate coverage official ratings. Redfin’s closing price on Monday was $27.56, again compared with that $15 IPO price. It turns out that some of the top Wall Street analysts seem to think Redfin shares have already risen more than they should have or that shares are close to being fully valued.

Redfin is an online real estate services and a real estate brokerage company. This space has many existing competitors with decades of experience, and it has a whole host of new competitors that have sprouted up in the past decade with their own “online and tech” assisted models.

24/7 Wall St. has covered how each analyst is valuing Redfin now that the quiet period has ended. As a reminder, when Wall Street analysts issue new Buy or Outperform ratings on Dow or S&P 500 stocks, they are generally calling for upside of 8% to 15% from current share prices. So far there was only one positive analyst call that has been seen, and three firms have cautious ratings.

Redfin was started as Outperform with a $31 price target at Oppenheimer, and the firm called it a transformational realty brokerage firm. Oppenheimer’s higher $31 target is listed as a 12-month to 18-month target. The view of the analysts is that Redfin’s vertically integrated model and commitment to reinvesting resources into technology versus broker acquisition should take the industry to a new level. They also see Redfin decreasing what they called “transaction friction” while it also increases broker efficiency and reduces pricing.

Merrill Lynch started Redfin with a more cautious Neutral rating and assigned a $28 price objective. The view is that Redfin now needs to grow into its valuation, despite being called a solid disruption force and growth story. The analysts see the company’s potential to disrupt the real estate industry with lower pricing and with better technology, but the firm thinks upside for fiscal 2017 is already baked in at current prices.

Goldman Sachs started it as Neutral with a $20 price target. The firm believes that Redfin is well-positioned but is less positive about its reliance on brokerage agents. The firm also worries that discounted pricing efforts to gain market share and transaction growth could weigh on profitability ahead.

RBC Capital Markets started Redfin with a Sector Perform rating and assigned a $28 target price.

Stifel issued a Hold rating and assigned a $24 price target. The firm is positive on Redfin’s disruption force and sees positive long-term prospects. Still, it feels shares are fairly valued.

There are some other common themes that seem to echo throughout the cautious initial analyst reports and some underlying real estate issues. First and foremost, real estate’s recovery is far more mature than it was even two years ago. Low home inventory levels are another concern, as is the ability for more established real estate giants to counter technology gains with higher budgets.

Most Wall Street analysts are expected to issue Buy and Outperform types of ratings on the companies they bring public. Had Redfin’s stock not risen from $19 to over $30 in short order before a recent sell-off, that may have been the case.

Redfin shares were last seen trading down 3.3% at $26.67 on Tuesday. Its post-IPO range is $19.29 to $33.49. Redfin’s market cap is roughly $2.2 billion.