All hell broke loose during the second quarter of 2014 when realestate.com.au revealed that it would change its fee structure.
REA Group announced in May that agents would be charged based on the location of the listing rather than the location of their office.
The listings portal rejected accusations of price gouging, arguing that the new fee structure was fairer because it would provide more relevant pricing that was tailored to the property owner.
Domain took advantage of the situation by telling agents it wanted to be their “true partner” rather than “just gouging on price because we’ve the opportunity to do so”.
More than 300 offices in Melbourne reacted to REA’s price hike by forming a collective bargaining group to secure fairer listings charges.
News emerged in mid-June that the industry’s major franchise groups were working to develop a new listings portal in order to challenge the dominance of realestate.com.au.
The identity of some of those parties was revealed later that month, as was the name of its new chief executive.
In other news, it emerged that average commission rates had fallen to 2.22 per cent – well down on the 2.5 per cent rate recorded in 2009.
An office in WA admitted that it had “got done” when cyber-thieves hacked into its online banking system and stole $50,000.
Over in Victoria, Consumer Affairs announced that it would heavily scrutinise auction campaigns to identify any indicators of misleading price advertising.