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Realestate.co.nz making serious moves on Trade Me Property

There has not been much commentary for well over a month on the tension between Trade Me Property and the real estate industry – up in arms over the new pricing structure. That was until this marketing flyer hit the digital wires today proclaiming that traffic and activity on the industry-owned website of Realestate.co.nz has "gone through the roof".

These are some significant stats and naturally I am always keen to look into the numbers, where I can, to provide what I see as valuable insight.

1. More homes for sale than anyone else

Based on my own analysis as of today (2nd April) this is most definitely true. Not just more but significantly more!

For the past three years at least Trade Me Property has had a subscriber base at least equal to Realestate.co.nz or close enough to make little difference and so from the perspective of licensed agents the two sites have been line-ball. On top of this, Trade Me has an additional stock of listings from private sellers, which on average have amounted to about 16% of the Trade Me listings, which generally means Trade Me has 18-19% more listings than Realestate.co.nz.

As of today that advantage to Trade Me has disappeared and Realestate.co.nz not only has more listings (a margin of 4%) but, by applying an estimation factor for private listing, Realestate.co.nz has considerably more licensed agent listings (a margin of 18%).

In seeing this significant advantage to Realestate.co.nz I was naturally drawn to look at the hot-spot of the Hawkes Bay where the boycott against Trade Me continues and has seen a large proportion of agents listings only appearing on Realestate.co.nz. The actual make up of listings on both sites as of today in Hawke's Bay are as follows.

This is staggering. In Hawke's Bay, Trade Me Property is only displaying 428 houses being marketed by real estate agents for sale as compared to 1103 houses on Realestate.co.nz - I know where I would be looking for property for sale for sure in this area of the country!

2. More Traffic

The marketing flyer speaks to a lift of 30% in traffic over the past six months quoting Nielsen average daily unique browsers, certainly a credible source of data. Not having access to Nielsen data, I turned to a source I use quite a bit these days, Similar Web. This service provides estimates of website traffic, by no means as accurate as Nielsen of Google Analytics but useful as far as seeing trends.

The trend since the start of the year has been of a significant growth backing up the more credible Nielsen stats.

No. 1 Property App

The Realestate.co.nz iPhone app was the first mobile property app in NZ, leading Trade Me Property by 18 months. Since that launch in late 2010 the app has been downloaded more than 200,000 times and rightfully can claim the mantle of the No. 1 property app in NZ.

The marketing flyer speaks to the download rank as the demonstration of leadership quoting "iTunes & app annie download rank of property apps in NZ". The source of this ranking data is App Annie, which tracks the ranking of all iOS and Android apps. For the sake of relevance, I have only examined the iPhone app download ranking as Trade Me Property does not have an Android app and the Realestate.co.nz iPad app has only just been launched.

The charts below show the past 12 months for the Trade Me Property iPhone app and the Realestate.co.nz iPhone app.

The Realestate.co.nz app is being downloaded at a rate that consistently places it at around the 320th most popular app in NZ, whereas Trade Me Property app is further down the rankings at an average of 500th place.

These collective stats do provide (not that I was sceptical) a clear demonstration that the battle for supremacy in the property portal space in NZ is actually not that clearcut and certainly in the past four months things have begin to change. I am not saying that Trade Me is wounded but at the same time there is a clear demonstration that Realestate.co.nz is gaining. It does, however, need to make sure it attends to the detail, for instance its version 2.0 of their iPhone app which was poorly tested before bugs were discovered, which could have seriously undermined their credibility in that key are.

Former Realestate.co.nz CEO Alistair Helm is founder of Properazzi.

 

Comments and questions
7

Very interesting article. It shows just how much property sales are valued by those in the real estate business. The intent to protect overpriced fees charged to sell your property by greedy non commercially savvy estate agents in one particular area of NZ is strong but will eventually be dealt with by market forces. We are moving into a time of efficiency and the reality that protectionism is not the way forward to be commercially successful. Look forward to seeing more on this very interesting trend and seeing if the trend actually continues or declines

It's not protectionism, it's professionalism.

...However both sites are still lagging behind their international competitors in terms of the information they provide the public on house sales.

Just a quick note to point out that Jimmy from Trade Me Property posted a few thoughts on Alistair's original column over at Properazzi: http://bit.ly/1jmP5K8.

Are you talking about actual Sales or just your Listings ? Who wants to pay 4% commission + $500 to have their house sold ? the agents are a complacent lot who just want a quick buck and if the home is above $250,000 they don't want to know and don't take any interest . Quick to ask for advertising dollars , the poor seller gets slammed . Auctions are a rip off for the seller with the Real Estate companies and the Agents having an attitude of "All Care No Responsibility "

Auctions have never been a rip off they are just another method of marketing by choice. We don't charge for Auctions so take that out of the equation and assess it based on it's merits or pitfalls. "all care no responsibility"....Peter there is a new organisation called the REAA 2008. Take a check on their website and you will see the very heavy restrictions on our practices and rightly so.

Could you put a few more false generalisations in there. I don't know of an agents that charge 4% + $500 maybe in the provinces but certainly not in the Cities where 80% of the transactions take place, wake up.
As for your "All care and no responsibility" comment is the biggest load of crap...do some research on a thing called the REAA and then tell me there is no "Care or Responsibility taken".
If you are such a hero that you can sell your own house then good on you, use Trademe as the only listings there soon will be the 1-5% of sales that are private ones, you can get your own punters instead of riding on the back of all those agents listings and then claiming you are such a great negotiator. Most people are too busy to try and do something that is complex, time consuming and expensive to do and would be happy to hire a "GOOD" agent to do the job for them, and pay them the commission for the job. If it is that easy then get involved and lets see how you cope, or are you a failed agent who is just bitter that you didn't work hard enough to succeed.