Barry Plant: REA ‘terrific’ but market dominance unhealthy

Barry Plant: REA ‘terrific’ but market dominance unhealthy

by 5 comments

REA remains an extremely important supplier to the industry but its position has become too strong and there needs to be a shake-up in the listings space, according to a leading Victoria-based group.

Barry Plant, with 80 offices in the state, said there's always a lot of emotion attached to changes in listing fees, referring to recent criticism of's new fee structure. However, it said REA’s market domination will continue until the industry gets its act together and establishes a more competitive market.

"With price increases, there's a lot of emotion around it,” CEO Mike McCarthy told Real Estate Business. "The bottom line is that REA is an extremely good supplier to the industry and provides a terrific service. Having said that, I think there should be more competition in the online market space. We need to strike a balance, as an industry we have to be mindful that online is a competitive space."

He added that it's “all well and good for the industry to complain about this and that”, but until the industry creates a more competitive space it's not going to change.

Mr McCarthy, who admitted that REA has “unhealthy” listings market dominance, also revealed that its main rival, Domain, has recently encroached on traditional territory in Victoria, to the point where Barry Plant franchisees are now seeing as many enquiries from Domain as REA.

"Interestingly, the level of traffic to our website between REA and Domain is now close to parity,” he said.

"REA still have a slight edge but it’s getting very close. In discussions with my franchisees they’re saying they’re getting as many enquiries from Domain as they are from REA, which is surprising; I wasn’t expecting that,” said Mr McCarthy, whose business recently shifted a chunk of its premium listings spend to Domain and is a minor shareholder in Metro Media Publishing's

He said Domain has always performed well in Melbourne's inner suburbs - where The Age is strong - but, he's now seeing a spike for Domain in the middle and outer suburbs, where it hasn't traditionally fared so well.

“It’s an interesting and very recent shift,” said Mr McCarthy. “Our analytics showed a big jump in March to our site. We’re waiting to see if it will be repeated for April"

He believes it's a trend and something agents should be communicating to their clients. 

"We’ve a responsibility to our clients. If you can spend X dollars on premium [listings] for REA, or could spend a third of those dollars on Domain and get just as many enquires, it does start to become an interesting question," he said.

promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
Listen to other installment of the Real Estate Business Podcast
reb top 100 agents 2017

With a combined sales volume of over $14 billion in 2017, the Top 100 Agents ranking represents the very best sales agents in Australia. Find out what sets them apart and learn their secrets to success.

featured podcast

featured podcast
How this agent grew his database by 50% in five years

In this episode of Secrets of the Top 100 Agents, Robert Pignataro joins host Tim Neary to explain how he increased his personal database by...

View all podcasts

Does the benefit of being part of a branded group outweigh the cost?

Depends on the group
Do you have an industry update?