Agents ought to be aware of the various listing portals available if they wish to challenge the market dominance of REA Group's realestate.com.au, said one website provider.
According to CEO and nominal share holder of thehomepage.com.au, Ben Stockdale, agents and principals who wish to even the playing field should support the various listing portals available now.
“The agents who I have spoken to, and from the comments in your articles, you can see they just want choice,” he told Real Estate Business, referring to recent articles which have focused on changes REA Group - owner of realestate.com.au - is making to its subscription cost structure.
“We aren’t the biggest and I think REA are doing a very good job, but to break their monopoly, agents should be sharing the listings across a number of portals," Mr Stockdale continued.
“That way, when the next price increase comes around realestate.com.au might have a little less control.”
Thehompage.com.au is a privately owned listing portal that offers agents free listings. It averages approximately 300,000 unique browsers a month, according to Mr Stockdale.This compares to realestate.com.au, which reported 6.5 million unqiue browsers in the year to June 2012 for desktop users, and 1.35 million unique browsers for mobile devices in the same period.
“We are in a growth stage at the moment, we currently have about 3,000 active agencies using the site, which equates to roughly 30 per cent of the market,” he said. “And about 160,000 properties all up.”
However, he assures his clients that the site would remain free with no hidden costs, explaining that thehomepage.com.au generates revenue through third party advertising.
“We guarantee our free service in writing to our clients and at the same time we guarantee a certain level of service, too,” he said.
“Just because we are free doesn’t mean we are cheap.”
According to David Crombie, director of industry-owned realestateworld.com.au, while the website is not designed to compete with REA Group, it is a viable option.
“No site today can compete with realestate.com.au,” he told Real Estate Business.
“Our site is designed to provide our members a cost effective means to present their listings.”
realestateworld.com.au is wholly owned by the Estate Agents Cooperative (EAC), with its members being the shareholders.
“It is 100 per cent industry owned and controlled, with 50 per cent of our members coming from franchise groups and 50 per cent being independent,” he explained.
“It makes realestateworld.com.au one of the very few industry-owned portals.”
Mr Crombie said the website has so far had success in the Illawara region of NSW and is supported by all LJ Hooker franchises nationwide.
realestateworld.com.au has just over 1,300 offices listing on the site, with 66,000 active property listings.
“We offer a free option called the starter package that you can stay on forever for free, but should an agent choose to, they can take up a Pro Subscription for greater exposure,” he explained.
Other property listing websites include, but are not limited to, realestateVIEW.com.au, nextplace.com.au, domain.com.au, remma.com.au, realestate1.com.au, Onthehouse.com.au, homehound.com.au, homesales.com.au and REIWA.com.au.