Real Estate Tech Platform Ribbon Enters Jacksonville Market

Aug 24, 2021

Jacksonville’s hot housing market continues to lure new players. The real estate go-between company Ribbon announced Tuesday it is expanding to Jacksonville and several other Florida cities.

Ribbon is coming into the market with a twist. It’s basically acting as a middleman, helping real estate agents and buyers quickly come up with non-contingent, all-cash offers on homes.

Jacksonville is among the cities that has been luring more investors and other out-of-town buyers that make all-cash offers for properties, which many sellers prefer.

“There are immense challenges homebuyers face in Florida’s real estate market, but Ribbon aims to ensure they aren’t insurmountable. Aside from increased interest in home ownership, homebuyers now have to compete against Wall Street investors, turning housing into long-term rentals at the expense of qualified buyers,” said Shaival Shah, CEO and co-founder of Ribbon, in an email to WJCT News.

Florida Realtors reported that in May more than 9,300 Florida home buyers made cash offers, a 148.6% increase over May 2020.

Ribbon says its system helps real estate agents and would-be buyers by backing cash offers, which it calls Ribbon Cash. The company makes its money by charging a transaction fee.

Ribbon technically purchases the home on the buyer’s behalf.  The would-be homeowner then has up to 180 days to secure financing from a lender to repurchase the home from Ribbon.

The online realty company Zillow reported that typical Jacksonville metro home values in July were $287,139, up 2.7% month over month and up 19.5% year over year.

Ribbon is also launching Florida operations in Tampa, Orlando and Lakeland. It was founded in 2017 in New York and Charlotte and also operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Tennessee and Georgia.

Ribbon is following another non-traditional player into Jacksonville's real estate market this summer.

In June, Atlanta-based Knock announced an expansion into Jacksonville with what it calls home swapping.

Knock is aimed at people looking to buy a new home before their old home is sold by providing interest-free bridge loans, which cover the down payment on the new home, home prep and up to six months of mortgage payments on the old house. 

There are signs the nation’s housing market is finally starting to cool. The share of homes for sale with a price drop rose for the fifteenth consecutive week to 4.9%, according to a Redfin report released Friday.

Redfin said: “Buyers are seeing that homes are staying on the market a little longer—a median 17 days—as more homeowners are listing their homes and at more realistic prices."

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.