Opendoor shares surge 21%: 'We're very good at this,' says CFO

Opendoor's CFO cast aside doubts following Zillow's home-buying implosion
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

Opendoor, which uses artificial intelligence to make cash offers on homes for sale, this afternoon reported Q3 revenue and profit that both topped Wall Street's expectations. Its outlook for this quarter was higher as well. 

The report sent Opendoor shares surging by 21% in late trading

The report comes a week after competitor Zillow said it would close down its own operation of buying homes after failing to close sales with 90% of home buyers to whom it made offers. 

During a conference call Thursday evening, management was asked about Zillow's highly publicized troubles, and whether Opendoor could have similar problems. 

CFO Carrie Ann Wheeler replied by stating, "We're very good at this — this is core to what we do," meaning, how to price homes and how to forecast trends in real estate. 

We have built over the last seven years very robust pricing systems. We have seven years of investment in the data, in the modeling, and in our team that allows us to continuously improve how we model and approach home price valuations. We are rigorously back-testing our models every day. They're highly responsive. They have fast feedback loops and we can react to changing market conditions. Our forecasting accuracy is what allows us to manage the business within a reasonable range of outcomes and deliver margins within that 4% to 6% contribution margin range that we've guided to. Ultimately, the proof of our ability to do that is in our results. I just want to mention again, Q4 will mark our 20th consecutive quarter of positive here. So that's housing and – sort of the housing and forecasting question in total.

In response to the same question, Opendoor CEO and co-founder Eric Wu replied, "I just want to reemphasize that we're in a generational shift in housing from offline to online. And we understand empirically that consumers love our product and we have very strong, stable unit economics."

Opendoor CEO and co-founder Eric Wu said in prepared remarks that the results were "the byproduct of our focus on the consumer experience and strong, consistent execution."

"We exceeded our expectations in generating $2.3 billion of revenue, acquiring 15,181 homes, and delivering over $170 million of Contribution Profit and $35 million of Adjusted EBITDA," Wu added

Revenue in the three months leading up to September rose 72%, year over year, to $2.3 billion, yielding a net loss of 9 cents a share.

Analysts had been modeling $2 billion and negative 17 cents per share.

See also: Zillow says difficulty of forecasting, huge capital need felled home buying business.

Opendoor's gross profit margin declined from 13.4% in the prior quarter to 8.9%. The company's operating profit on a non-GAAP basis, reported as "contribution margin," declined to 7.5% of sales from 10.8% in the prior quarter.

The company bought 79% more homes in the quarter than in the prior quarter -- a total of 15,181 homes. That was down from a pace of 136% growth in the prior quarter.

Opendoor's inventory of homes rose by 130% from the prior quarter to 17,164 homes, totaling $6.3 billion. That was, again, slower than the 224% increase in Q2.

See also: Opendoor discusses the secret sauce: 'A deeper mechanism to the world'.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $3.1 billion to $3.2 billion, higher than the consensus for $2.92 billion and a 19-cent loss per share.

More information is available in the company's shareholder letter and an earnings data supplement.

Opendoor management will host a conference call with analysts at 5 p.m., Eastern time, and you can catch a Webcast of it on the company's investor relations home page.

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