Real Estate

Social Media Pours Salt In Zillow’s Wounds As Homes Are Swept To Sea

Zillow was trending on social media on Wednesday after two formerly beachfront homes were swept out to sea on the North Carolina coast.

Twitter users piled onto the online search portal giant after the homes, the second and third to be engulfed by the Atlantic Ocean in the vacation rental hotspot this year, collapsed on Tuesday.

Fresh water coursing through the latest homes opened up a new avenue for social media users to rub salt in Zillow’s wounds, six months after the company got out of the iBuying business with the collapse of Zillow Offers after failing to accurately estimate the price of homes. By Wednesday afternoon, one post on Twitter suggesting that the home that had collapsed into the ocean was now worth more money drew just shy of 150,000 likes.

“Zillow now estimates this house boat is worth $489,350,” one user wrote on Twitter.

Zillow records show a home at 24235 Ocean Drive in Rodanthe sold in August for $550,000. The home in the videos, at 24265 Ocean Drive, sold for $275,000 in November 2020, according to Zillow records. It had an estimated value of $381,200 at the time it was swallowed by the sea.

A home a few doors down at 24183 Ocean Drive collapsed in February, according to the Coastland Times. Its value is still listed as $599,900 on Zillow as of Wednesday.

The Outer Banks, a popular vacation destination along North Carolina’s northern coast, has been repeatedly battered by hurricanes and, now, high tides. Highway 12, the primary route onto and off of the island, routinely washes away during the area’s frequent storms.

“Sooner or later we need to get out of there,” Orrin H. Pilkey, a professor emeritus of geology at Duke University, told the Associated Press before a hurricane hit land in 2018. “We’ll retreat now in a planned fashion. Or we’ll retreat later in response to a catastrophe like the one that’s about to happen.”

It’s not clear whether people are ready to abandon the island yet.

Just north of the now-demolished former-beachfront homes is a five-bedroom, six-bathroom home that’s being marketed as a short-term rental that is “LITERALLY steps from the beach.”

Email Taylor Anderson

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