In 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, Realestate.co.nz.
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, Realestate.co.nz 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 Realestate.co.nz – it’s interesting to note that Realestate.co.nz 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. Realestate.co.nz have over 1,400 more residential and lifestyle for sale listings than Trade Me Property, as at 08/04/2014 the split is Realestate.co.nz 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.
Alistair Helm, ‘It’s all change at Trade Me Property’, NBR Online.
Catherine Harris, ‘Agents warn of Trade Me backlash’, Stuff.co.nz
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.