The battle for online real estate: Trade Me v

REIn a bid to avoid Trade Me monopolising the online property market following their announcement to significantly increase individual listing fees, the real estate industry has taken a united front to support their own industry-run website,

The focus of the industry is to ensure individual online marketing remains affordable for both agencies and ultimately the selling public.

In response to Trade Me’s price hikes, has come out with its own aggressive marketing campaign to position itself as New Zealand’s specialist property portal. It also boasts the newly acquired expertise of Brendan Skipper, a former head of Trade Me Property – a very smart move to ensure a third-party provider does not hike prices and hold the industry to ransom. I believe it is this proactive reaction that will future-proof the real estate industry’s online presence.

At the end of the day, the hike in Trade Me’s fees is no surprise, especially after it was acquired by Fairfax Media. Fairfax is struggling in its print media division and is constantly looking elsewhere to generate a better return for its shareholders. As pointed out to me by Jimmy McGee (see comment below), Fairfax is no longer a shareholder of Trade Me – my apologies for the error. It is worth noting, however, that the property advertisement aspect of its business has been identified as a key area for potential revenue growth as it faces flat revenues in its main general auctions business. See TV3’s ‘Trade Me in real estate battle’.

With a number of major real estate companies shifting off Trade Me as their contracts come to an end – and now listing exclusively on – it’s interesting to note that has now surpassed Trade Me in terms of property listings – 59,920 to 49,632 at a recent check. I have updated the listings comparison to include Trade Me’s lifestyle listings. have over 1,400 more residential and lifestyle for sale listings than Trade Me Property, as at 08/04/2014 the split is 59,676 vs Trade Me 58,258.

Here’s hoping that this rigorous competition between the two will result in better service and a better product for buyers and sellers alike.

Read more:
Alistair Helm, ‘It’s all change at Trade Me Property’, NBR Online.
Catherine Harris, ‘Agents warn of Trade Me backlash’,
Tina Morrison, Trade Me may reap $22.5m more real estate ad revenue by hiking fees, fending off rivals, NBR Online.

UPDATE: Jimmy McGee from Trade me has provided a response, which I am grateful for.

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About Peter Griffioen

Peter Griffioen - or simply Griff to those who know him - has an established reputation as a high-producing Harcourts Canterbury salesperson. With a focused approach to customer service you can rest assured that you are in good hands, whether it be a relaxed chat about the state of the market or an in-depth discussion regarding your next property transaction. The key advantage of engaging Team Griff’s services is their local knowledge and experience. Currently in this post-seismic era, it is vital to have true professionals working on your behalf, ensuring that you are guided through the process professionally and with a caring approach. The advent of the ‘as is, where is’ market means specialised expertise are required and Team Griff has taken it on themselves to both understand and explain the pros and cons of this now accepted sale/purchase option. For over 26 years the Griff brand has become synonymous with achieving results. Griff now prides himself with his five member team and takes much satisfaction from empowering them to both achieve and reach their own goals. A team with a proven track record placed with the highest ranking Harcourts Million Dollar Club members, exceeding the $275m level. Such accomplishments highlight the team’s exceptional marketing and negotiating skills. Team Griff are recognised as industry leaders for their online presence and regular blog posts of current and relevant real estate information. E-marketing and readily available property specific detailed info means Team Griff’s clients have the edge when it comes to selling their homes, not forgetting purchasers who benefit first hand. A simple Google search says it all – the Griff brand ranking with the most frequent. Griff’s life focus extends beyond business, with quality time and fun being high priorities, while mountain biking, boating and fishing provide that vital time out. His Christian faith is his anchor for daily living, and his community is important to him. For a team approach to optimize the result for your next property transaction, be sure to talk to this award winning team - synonymous with hard work and results! Griff and his trusted team welcome your enquiry today.

2 thoughts on “The battle for online real estate: Trade Me v

  1. Jimmy McGee

    Hi Peter

    Good to chat with your this morning. As I mentioned, I saw this post and thought it’d be worth making a few points of clarification as there is some stuff off the mark in here.

    1/ This is not about Trade Me Property monopolising anything or holding anyone to ransom. We believe our site is a compelling proposition to vendors and helps agents do what they’re best at: sell more property. We think agents should do what is best for their vendor, and that would generally include using Trade Me Property as a way to get properties in front of the largest audience and helping them sell more property. As we’ve always said: “You should only use TMP if it helps you sell houses.”

    2/ It’s disappointing some agents are taking advantage of their role as a trusted advisor and using vendors as pawns in industry politicking. Not having a vendor’s listings on Trade Me Property means less people will see the house for sale which means the vendor is less likely to sell, or get the best price.

    3/ Trade Me’s fees are not driven by Fairfax Media. Fairfax Media is not a shareholder and hasn’t been since it sold its stake back in December 2012. We think a maximum net price to an agent of $159 + GST (with discounts for volume) is fair and a very affordable marketing option – the research we commissioned showed around half of recent buyers found their home on Trade Me Property, and less than $200 is still a pretty small slice of most marketing schedules.

    4/ The residential for sale listing comparison between realestate and Trade Me Property isn’t apples for apples. Residential for sale listings on Trade Me Property currently excludes about 9,500 lifestyle listings (though we’re considering changing this). If you add those lifestyle listings back in, you’ll see the number of residential for sale listings is roughly comparable between the two sites.

    5/ We believe that over the long-term, loyalty from buyers and sellers will come via Trade Me Property being an effective and good value marketing option, and providing users with the best experience.


  2. Nerissa Kirby

    I operate a small Home Staging company and am finding that the people who list privately are getting better results now that the major real estate companies are not selling through Trade Me. I personally agree with Jimmy that $159 for each listing is a small fee to pay for advertising through an extremely successful medium such as Trade Me.

    I recently staged a lifestyle property in Tamahere. The owners (and many other people I know) had never heard of ….

    When I was personally looking to purchase property I found the search on your site cumbersome and it was frustrating that you had to open each listing to view the additional photos. The site is far too cluttered with advertising and other propaganda.

    I would expect that Agents are not getting as many enquiries as they used to now that they are not using Trade Me. I would also expect that the agencies not affiliated with are, like my private sellers, benefiting from this stance by the “big boys”.

    Kind regards, Nerissa

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