REA Group has rejected claims that competition from archrival Domain Group has forced it to slash its prices.
Domain has sent an email to Victorian agents that claims that REA has lowered the price of Premiere in many markets due in part to competitive pressure.
The argument is based around price comparisons for the Melbourne suburb of South Yarra between 2012 and 2015.
According to Domain, Premiere was priced at $2,300 when it launched in 2012, before climbing to $8,000 in 2014 and then tumbling to $1,800 in 2015.
Domain’s rival product, Premium Plus, was priced at $1,000 in 2012 and $1,200 in 2015.
“We are, of course, aware that REA has responded to a revitalised competitor and the industry's determination to act in the best interests of its vendors by dramatically slashing the price of Premiere in many markets,” Domain said.
Domain said that although the example in its email was only for South Yarra, “the same competitive benefits have been felt across metropolitan Melbourne” as agents have taken control over marketing budgets.
“Congratulations on your success in bringing genuine competition and choice to digital real estate marketing,” Domain said.
However, REA Group chief executive Tracey Fellows hit back at Domain.
“It’s a shame Domain continue to twist numbers and use unsubstantiated data in an attempt to mislead customers,” she told Real Estate Business.
“It’s especially disappointing given feedback from agents who feel these communications are a distraction to the industry.”
Ms Fellows said the facts show that REA Group attracts far more property seekers than Domain.
“According to Neilsen, in 2015 to date, realestate.com.au has had 157.2 million visits to our main and mobile sites, while the number two has had only 53.3 million,” she said.
“In terms of engagement, total time on realestate.com.au was more than five times that spent on the number two site.”
Those statistics don’t include app downloads.