When selling or leasing any property within Australia, it is essential to list on one or both of the major property portals (realestate.com.au and domain.com.au )
Both of these portals are majority owned by 2 of Australia’s largest media groups. e.g Realestate.com.au is majority owned by News Limited.
Such a situation has been the Status Quo for the past 20 years and it should not be permitted to last a moment longer, The Australian Government via the inaction by ACCC is letting this monopoly go on unchecked
Australia’s largest media groups should not also own Australia’s largest real estate websites.
Decades ago, the Federal Government enforced competition within the Australian Telecommunications industry, by breaking up the Telstra monopoly, however there has been no action whatsoever in properly regulating the real estate portals who fully control property marketing within Australia.
The monopoly and its commensurate media control, has meant a continual price gouging of both real estate agents as well as the public they serve.
Aside from constant price hikes every year which are continually well above any annual inflation rate, realestate.com.au adopts pricing policies that discriminate between agents,while at the same time also unfairly treating private sellers.
As one simple example of disparity – a listing upgrade on realestate.com.au may vary in price by several thousand dollars, for no valid reason, within 2 different account holders and for precisely the same property!
The exact same listing can cost one real estate agent ( and thus a property seller ) thousands of dollars extra, for the same listing in the same location!
Also, realestate.com.au also does not treat private sellers the same way that it treats its real estate agents. For example, private sellers are not permitted to list their own phone numbers in their own online ads, as real estate agents are permitted to do, even when the no commission sale is via a licensed real estate agency.
Another incongruity is that – the owner of www.domain.com.au (Australia’s second largest property website) is also the same owner of the website – www.allhomes.com.au.
AllHomes forces ACT residents to pay around $2,000 for a listing on the AllHomes website…whilst the parent (and larger website) domain.com.au, charges just $800 to list the exact same property!
About 2 years ago, realestate.com.au, instituted an entirely new and totally manufactured additional cost (a cost per sale listing of between $66 and $120 per listing ) and….
this increase was allowed to be implemented, entirely unopposed by THE NATIONS COMPETITION WATCHDOG and REGULATOR – the ACCC.
Such costs are out of step with Industry Regulatory Practices and pricing worldwide. They impact heavily upon the cost of housing,by increasing the costs of selling, which as a consequence, also increases the cost of buying a property in Australia.
Undeterred by the previous massive increase,which was allowed to pass unchallenged during 2018, realestate.com.au once again has actioned yet another brand new and entirely manufactured cost. This time the target is rental properties. During 2020, www.realestate.com.au, created an all new “cost per rental listing “ for the first time in its history and with the tacit approval of the Regulator given the precedent it set 2 years earlier.
This new “cost per rental listing” was to have been initiated in the second quarter of 2020 and was only delayed because of Covid19.
In other words, whilst most other Corporate Entities have sought ways to assist and minimise their client’s costs during the pandemic, REA Group had instead, potentially mined the outbreak, by bringing in a brand new and entirely unwarranted cost, upon rental properties nationwide,during Covid. Note; the pricing increase was planned and was to be actioned before Covid was an issue, only to be delayed at the last moment.
Additionally, realestate.com.au, in a constant effort to extract as much money as possible, continually mines agents and the public via an “auction pricing” system. The system uses an artificial pricing mechanism to force agents and their vendors to continually spend more money to keep their listings visible. (this is done by use of an astonishingly expensive feature, highlight and premiere listing fee mechanism which is based on suburb) It creates artificial bidding and artificial competition to be the highest listing in a given property search on realestate.com.au
The unfettered power of the 3 property portals (realestate.com.au, domain.com.au and AllHomes.com.au) means that they are able to continually increase their costs, without any fear of competition.
By signing this petition, you add your name to the call, to have the realestate.com.au and domain.com.au duopoly either broken up or else properly regulated. The only way to do this is through a Royal Commission and/or intervention by the ACCC.
Please lend your voice by signing our petition, in order to help us improve consumer outcomes within Australia’s largest industry.
Licensed Real Estate Agent and Consumer Advocate.