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Trade Me claims quarter of property ads

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 18/08/2016 Fiona Rotherham

Trade Me claims its property pages have a quarter share of the national spend on classified property advertising, according to its latest 2016 full-year financial results.

The online marketplace and classified advertising company on Thursday reported a 9.2 per cent uplift in overall revenue to $218 million and a 3.5 per cent rise in underlying profit to $83m, driven by a return to revenue growth in its general items marketplace and a strong performance from its classifieds business.

Trade Me Property remains New Zealand's most visited real estate website and reported a 16 per cent revenue increase on the prior year to $31.8m. That's up from $19m in 2012.

That amounts to 25 per cent of New Zealand's annual $129m classified property ad spending. Half of the spending still comes in print rather than online although Trade Me chief executive Jon Macdonald says classified advertising continues to transition from print to online.

That's more evident in jobs and motors advertising than property as yet.

In 2013 Trade Me moved from an "all-you-can-eat" rate to a per-listing fee for agents, as it already had for private sellers. Some agents faced big cost increases, leading to boycotts in some areas and a Trade Me back down the next year to offer both options.

It also led to the Commerce Commission filing court proceedings late last year against 13 national and regional real estate agencies alleging price-fixing and anti-competitive agreements in response to Trade Me's fee changes.

Mr Macdonald said the take up by agents is now around half and half for each fee option depending on whether agents passed on or absorbed marketing costs on behalf of sellers.

Trade Me's property listings market share was improving, Mr Macdonald said, though its leadership position is patchy nationwide and still low in some regions.

"We're making good progress but we still have a lot to do," he said.

Its main rival in the market for online property listings is realestate.co.nz.

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