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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

Northwest Arkansas' most searched ZIP codes

Expand chart
Data: Zillow; Map: Sara Wise/Axios

The most popular ZIP codes for potential Northwest Arkansas homebuyers are in Benton County, according to data from Zillow.

Why it matters: It signals what potential homebuyers want in a home, where they hope to live and roughly how much they're looking to spend.

Rep. Lamborn may have misused official resources, ethics panel alleges

Rep. Doug Lamborn departs from a news conference held by the House Republican Israel Caucus on May 19, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Congressional ethics investigators said Monday there is "substantial reason" to believe that Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) misused official resources and solicited or accepted improper gifts from subordinates.

Driving the news: Lamborn's aides told investigators they were often asked to run personal errands for his wife, Jeanie Lamborn, and were at one point tasked with helping his son apply for a federal position, according to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). Lamborn strongly denies the allegations.

Biden calls Fox News reporter a "stupid son of a b---h" on hot mic

President Biden blasted Fox News' Peter Doocy on Monday after the reporter asked if the nation's soaring inflation is a political liability, saying, "what a stupid son of a b----h."

Driving the news: The Biden administration has faced rising inflation rates over recent months, which it has labeled as "transitory."