Agents remain our core clients, says REA Group

REA Group said plans to allow vendors to directly upgrade their advertisements will not exclude real estate agents, according to a report today.

The Sydney Morning Herald said Greg Ellis, REA’s CEO, stressed the plan, which is currently being trialled by a group of Queensland-based agents, would only be made after speaking with agents.

“We’re never going to go direct to vendors,” Richard Freudenstein, REA Group chairman, said at the company’s annual general meeting yesterday, as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald. “They’re going to be customers of the agent before we ever do anything with them at all.”

The company made a similar statement in August this year.

The company reported a 23 per cent increase in revenue in fiscal year 2011, to $238.4 million, while net profit after tax (NPAT) was up 37 per cent to $67.5 million.

Mr Freudenstein said these results were achieved “despite a softening of the property market in the second half.”

The number of paying agents in Australia was 9,536 as of June this year, down slightly on the year earlier, while the average revenue per agent (APRA) came in at $1,456 in June, up 15 per cent year-on-year. Agents make up 76 per cent of the company’s revenue, followed by 18 per cent from developers and six per cent from ‘third parties’.

Around 65 per cent of revenue comes from the residential side of the business, compared to 24 per cent from commercial and 11 per cent from media.

Technology remains a key focus for the company, Mr Freudenstein said.

“Over the past three years, the group has invested $70 million in technology and innovation, the cornerstone of which is the next-generation technology platform successfully rolled out over FY10 and FY11,” he said.

“The delivery of innovative products and services to customers and consumers is key to REA group’s growth strategy.

“According to the latest figures from IAB Australia, the Australian online advertising market is on track to surpass $3 billion in 2012 and REA Group is well positioned to benefit from the market’s continued growth.”

"The group is now Australia’s fifth largest digital display advertiser by revenue and realestate.com.au is the 12th most popular website in Australia according to Nielsen Online Ratings,” he continued.

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