Domain scores ‘free kick’ from REA backlash

A real estate principal has said Domain is the clear “winner” in the war being waged against the REA Group, as hostility between agents and the REA refuses to fade.

The comment follows News Limited supremo Rupert Murdoch denying the idea that REA is attempting to take commissions agents earn on property transactions.

Clarke & Humel principal and real estate agent Michael Clarke said REA has conflicting priorities between delivering shareholder profits and working with agents and, as such, is walking a fine line.

“I think they are being ambitious on their pricing - I don’t believe it is in REA’s interest to cut out the agents,” he told Real Estate Business.

“It absolutely makes no sense for them to antagonise their chief source of revenue so I’m sure that’s not where they’re headed."

“The best way to go would be more consultation with real estate agency bodies to better work in the best interests of not only their shareholders but with their key salespeople in mind because it doesn’t have to be a situation where we are at loggerheads; we should be working hand in glove to provide our vendors the very best profit and product,” he added.

Mr Clarke said the debate has been a “own goal” in respect to Domain.

“It is a fabulous free kick for Domain, and that is ok because as an independent real estate agent and agency what we are after is delivering the very best product to our vendors at the very cheapest rate, so if the challenger side in Domain, through its agitating, ultimately gives us more competitve pricing then that is great,” he said

“Domain is the winner and that is the irony about it. Any price rise from Domain would not be well met by the industry either but, if they are looking to increase also, then provided they still remained less than REA, they would probably not face as much backlash, as REA has increased even further in a shorter period of time.”

Mr Clarke also believes a reason why there has been such backlash is just how much the REA has increased its prices in a relatively short time.

“If the prices were more incremental it would not have such an impact on real estate agents and agents wouldn’t have reacted so strongly," he said

“I'd be surprised f they drifted too far away from what is effectively their own sales team, as that is when the shareholders will suffer and that is when REA will potentially be in a difficult spot.” 

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