RebOnline, the Real Estate Business magazine is reporting that the Domain Property Group is offering agents in South Australia the chance to take equity in an advertising business as part of its response to the REA Group's rising prices.
The equity is unlikely to be in Domain itself but a new site to be launched. This appears to be a similar move to the property portal launched a couple of years ago in Victoria (Australia) called www.reviewproperty.com.au.
Real Estate Business reports the move is an attempt to alleviate future ‘price gouging’ by competitors such as realestate.com.au (owned by The REA Group), and will be 50 per cent owned by real estate businesses in South Australia and 50 per cent owned by Fairfax Media.
Domain's Chief Operating Officer Tony Blamey commented to Real Estate Business that from an agent’s point of view such a joint venture creates a more competitive marketplace, helps keep listing prices down and enables an estate agency to invest and grow an audience by using domain’s technology development smarts.
Real estate agents, according to Mr Blamey, prefer to support a business they have ownership in, a key lesson learned in the first joint venture launched in Melbourne.
"From an agent’s point of view, spending with such an entity allows them to build value in terms of assets for themselves and consumers, and they don’t have to continue to invest in building richer technology," Mr Blamey.
"Domain’s product development can offer consumers a better experience as we have invested heavily in mobile applications that are rated higher than our competitors and there already has been a profound shift in behaviour towards using mobile devices, around 60 per cent.
"Agents want more control over a listing’s destiny and sales data and have been crying out for greater control … we have seen that in Melbourne under the equity model, which counters behaviour of competitors and empowers an individual agency since price increases have been unreasonable and they can now defend against them."
In Melbourne there is a similar joint venture called www.reviewproperty.com.au. reviewproperty.com.au is self described as "Australia's newest and most exciting industry owned real estate portal with approximately 400,000 national property listings. Unlike other property portals; property listings, auction results and market data are combined with hyper local lifestyle content such as restaurant reviews, school options, all the local services and much more. The site is supported by Metro Media Publishing lifestyle magazines, local newspapers and web assets."
The site is owned by Metro Media Publishing who is well known for publishing the Weekly Review - a print publication that took significant revenues from Fairfax and then was subsequently bought by Fairfax. Metro Media Publishing is owned by Fairfax, prominent Melbourne (Australia) agents and Domain's CEO, Antony Catalano.