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Trade Me tweaks real estate listing fee to placate agents

Trade Me tweaks real estate listing offerings to keep agents onsite

By Suze Metherell

July 30 (BusinessDesk) - Trade Me has added a monthly listing subscription fee option for realtors after some agents baulked at the online auction site's move to pay-per-listing fees.

The $1,399 monthly subscription offer for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch-based listings, and $999 for elsewhere, comes after some real estate agents boycotted the Wellington-based company's move to a $159 pay-per-listing charge last year. Businesses which stick with the pay-per-listing model will only pay $99 if the house is valued below $450,000.

"We’ve taken on board feedback that different markets are at play across the country, and affordability from vendors and real estate businesses varies," Nigel Jeffries, head of Trade Me property said in a statement. “We acknowledge that the pay-per-listing model we rolled out last year works well for some business owners, but it does not work for everybody."

Last year Trade Me's classified advertising segment, which includes property, motors and jobs advertisements, posted 29 percent sales growth to $69.7 million, making it the biggest source of operating income for the company.

Property is seen as a key growth engine for the website's classified advertising business, as it faces flat revenues in general auctions business. The company estimates it has a 15 percent, or $18 million, share of the $115 million property-for-sale classified advertising market in New Zealand.

According to Trade Me data, gathered by Perceptive Research, 68 percent of house hunters use the auction site, 6 percent use and 4 percent use newspapers.

Shares of Trade Me fell 2 percent to $3.45 and have declined 13 percent this year. The stock is rated an average of 'hold' according to 10 analysts surveyed by Reuters, with a median price target of $3.93.


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