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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Zillow will lay off 25% of its workforce, it announced Tuesday, as a result of shutting down Zillow Offers, the arm of the company that calculated a fair value for houses and then offered to buy them immediately.

Why it matters: The news shows the limitations of extrapolating price trends from huge amounts of consumer data. While Zillow had unrivaled access to the browsing and buying habits of American homebuyers, its algorithm proved to be overoptimistic, even in the middle of a housing boom.

What they're saying: "The unpredictability in forecasting home prices far exceeds what we anticipated," said Zillow CEO Rich Barton.

Between the lines: Zillow owns about 7,000 houses, which it's put on the market for about $2.8 billion. Rather than just trying to sell them one at a time, it's also looking for institutional investors to buy them immediately — even if that means taking a loss.

By the numbers: Zillow shares traded at about $81 after the market closed on Tuesday, down 15% from where they closed on Monday, and down 60% from their high point of $208 in February.

The bottom line: Zillow convinced itself that the data flowing from its highly addictive app would be able to forecast future price trends. It was wrong.

This piece has been updated to clarify that Zillow is entertaining sales to both individuals and investors.

Go deeper

The D.C. area's top zip codes are all in the suburbs

Data: Zillow; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

None of the D.C. area’s top zip codes for homebuyers are in the District, according to a Zillow analysis. They’re all in suburbs and even exurbs of the city, including one in West Virginia.

  • The online real estate marketplace tracked which ZIP codes had the highest number of average website views in the D.C. metro.

Why it matters: The data shows area homebuyers value the ease of suburban life, especially as the cost of living in the nation’s capital continues to rise.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort

Illustration: Rae Cook/Axios

The world still needs more coronavirus vaccines, but an additional bottleneck has emerged in many low-income countries: They need help getting shots in arms.

Why it matters: Increasing vaccination rates across the world is both a humanitarian necessity and the best way to prevent dangerous new variants from emerging, but it increasingly requires complex problem-solving.

Updated 3 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 Omicron variant cases identified in Europe, U.K.

People wearing masks walk in London on Nov. 25. Photo: Li Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Health officials in the United Kingdom, Italy and Germany announced on Saturday that they've detected the first known cases of the new COVID-19 Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The discoveries come as the world scrambles to respond to concerns over the new variant, discovered in South Africa earlier this week.