In A Down Real Estate Market, Trulia Scratches At Profitability

The real estate bust is still dragging down the economy, but some startups are making the best of a bad situation. Real estate search engine Trulia, is still growing by zeroing in on subscription services for real estate agents. CEO Peter Flint tells me the company edged into profitability two months ago—six years after the company was founded. He won’t give specific numbers, but says that revenues are doubling from a year ago and almost half comes from real estate agents who pay for Trulia Local Ads and the premium Trulia Pro service to help market their listings.

Traffic to the site is up more than 50 percent from last year, up to 9 million unique visitors a month, according to Flint. ComScore estimates a smaller number—6 million U.S. visitors in September—but even stronger growth of 155 percent (Zillow grew even faster at a 200 percent annual clip to 7.6 million uniques, so it’s not just Trulia that is doing well here). Trulia’s growth comes from expanding its listings to rentals earlier this year, and in general trying to help people make smarter real estate decisions with all sorts of tools and data.

Demand for Trulia’s private shares on SecondMarket are among the fastest-growing. Flint plans to expand further in 2011 with new products aimed at the real estate market. He still has some catching up to do, however. Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate, and are all still larger sites.