Portal offers equity share to agents

A major real estate portal has offered agents in South Australia the opportunity to take ownership in an advertising business as part of a response to its competitors' rising prices  

A joint venture between Domain and South Australian estate agents is set to capitalise on the sentiment created by rising costs and direct competition across the online property listings space.

The move is an attempt to alleviate future ‘price gouging’ by competitors such as REA, and will be 50 per cent owned by real estate businesses in South Australia and 50 per cent owned by Fairfax Media.

Speaking to Real Estate Business, Domain chief operating officer Tony Blamey said from an agent’s point of view such a joint venture creates a more competitive marketplace, helps keep listing prices down and enables an estate agency to invest and grow an audience by using domain’s technology development smarts.

Real estate agents, according to Mr Blamey, prefer to support a business they have ownership in, a key lesson learned in the first joint venture launched in Melbourne.

"From an agent’s point of view, spending with such an entity allows them to build value in terms of assets for themselves and consumers, and they don’t have to continue to invest in building richer technology," Mr Blamey.

"Domain’s product development can offer consumers a better experience as we have invested heavily in mobile applications that are rated higher than our competitors and there already has been a profound shift in behaviour towards using mobile devices, around 60 per cent.

"Agents want more control over a listing’s destiny and sales data and have been crying out for greater control … we have seen that in Melbourne under the equity model, which counters behaviour of competitors and empowers an individual agency since price increases have been unreasonable and they can now  defend against them."

An REA spokesperson said they already deliver a large and engaged audience to agents and vendors.

“We remain committed to supporting the local real estate industry, and we demonstrate this through our partnership with the Real Estate Institute of South Australia,” they said.

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