2014 was a momentous year for property portals. We had:
Antony Catalano, the CEO of Domain, sent a clear message to Australian real estate agents that they should not be spending money on the REA Group as they are just paying more money for the same results.
Casa.it has been claiming market leadership in Italy. However, research using Similarweb uncovers the apparent use of pop-unders to generate visits to the casa.it site.
In 2007 the REA Group acquired casa.it for euros 11.7 million. Casa.it was the clear leader in the Italian market and the Immobiliare team ran a site called eurekasa.it. Today Immobiliare is the market leader on all measures and casa.it is falling back into a distant second place. How did this happen?
Over a series of articles, Property Portal Watch looked at how casa.it had been using pop-under banners to drive traffic and how the real leader in the Italian market is Immobiliare. Property Portal Watch also showed how casa.it had been the clear leader in the Italian market and how they let this leadership position slip to a well executed strategy by the Immobiliare team. The question is what should the REA Group do now?
The new estate agency portal has signed up 1,830 estate agent branches, including those of Savills, Knight Frank, Chesterton Humberts, Glentree Estates and Strutt & Parker, which accounts for 12% of the UK market.
Based on figures from Experian Hitwise (Serasa in Brazil), the first four months of 2014 show VivaReal.com.br with a clear traffic lead on long time incumbents Zap and Imovelweb. This change of leadership happened in January 2014.
The combined value of the top 20 property portal companies in the world is over USD 45 billion with AirBNB, Soufun and the REA Group taking the top three places.
Around the world real estate agents and their associations are looking closely at OnTheMarket in the UK and Squiiz in Australia. These two property portals are owned and operated by real estate agents and they are both competing in markets where there is a clear and dominant market leader and a profitable (and large) number 2 player. Will they succeed?
Agents Mutual, the new portal set up by over 500 UK agents including Douglas & Gordon, Strutt & Parker, Savills and Knight Frank has made all the headlines recently. One industry insider believes that the new site has the potential to knock off Rightmove for leadership in the UK market.
Agents, franchise groups, MLS' and brokers can potentially use the degradation of listings on a portal site to their advantage - but this approach must be taken carefully.
To find out what is going to happen in 2015, come to the Property Portal Watch Conference in New York on the 26th and 27th January. Over 100 C-Level managers from around the world have signed up.