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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Top Republicans in the House and Senate antitrust subcommittees want the FTC to dig into Zillow's plans to buy a home-showing scheduling platform amid concerns about competition in the residential real estate market.

Why it matters: Federal antitrust scrutiny of tech deals keeps widening, and any hot market in which tech is playing an increasingly big role — like real estate — is likely to come under regulators' eyes.

Driving the news: Rep. Ken Buck (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah), the ranking members of the House and Senate antitrust subcommittees, urged FTC chair Lina Khan to "closely examine competition issues" in the real estate market, and highlighted Zillow's acquisition spree.

  • The online real estate company has expanded to operate as a broker, and announced in February plans to buy scheduling platform ShowingTime for $500 million.
  • The lawmakers fear the acquisition could "further entrench Zillow’s consumer information advantage to the detriment of homebuyers and their competitors."

What they're saying: They also worry that Zillow's Zestimate could "unduly influence" homeowners trying to sell their homes.

  • "The effect of Zillow’s acquisitions appears to be that it can effectively tell the homeowner what their home is worth, buy the home from the homeowner for that amount, and then turn around and immediately sell the home for a higher price," the lawmakers told the FTC.

Between the lines: The letter underscores the prospect that regulators may look at services like Zillow as platform owners who should not be allowed to participate in the marketplaces they operate.

The other side: In announcing the deal, Zillow said ShowingTime would remain an open platform and the acquisition will help make scheduling home showings easier.

  • The FTC did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
    • “Key to our mission is our work to modernize the real estate transaction — which has been notoriously resistant to consumer-friendly change over the decades. By building an open and equitable service which is available to all agents and brokers, which will include ShowingTime, we are helping move the industry towards a more efficient, digital future that works to benefit consumers," a Zillow spokesperson said in a statement.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with comment from Zillow.

Go deeper

Philadelphia's housing market remains highly competitive

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Philadelphia's housing market cooled slightly in this fiscal year's second quarter, but it remains ultra-competitive thanks to low supply fueling aggressive price increases.

Why it matters: Housing price growth continues to exceed household income growth, which Drexel University economist Kevin Gillen writes could indicate that "more homes are becoming less affordable (or even unaffordable) to an increasing number of Philadelphians."

5 mins ago - Technology

Race and technology in America

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The technology industry is famously determined to change the world — but its efforts to diversify its workforce and remove bias from its products haven't changed nearly enough.

Biden: "Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been"

President Biden speaks during the 40th Annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the U.S Capitolon Oct. 16. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden speaking at the U.S. Capitol on Saturday honored members of law enforcement who died in the line of duty in 2019 and 2021 and saluted those who are currently serving.

Driving the news: "We expect everything of you, and it's beyond the capacity of anyone to meet the total expectations. Being a cop today is one hell of a lot harder than it's ever been," Biden said.