Real estate alarm at higher fees
Real estate agents are alarmed they may have to pay more to list properties on popular advertising channel Trade Me.
The online auction site copped criticism last September when it raised its listing fees for private vehicle sales and most general items.
But sharemarket analyst Morningstar suggested this year that there was room for Trade Me to raise fees in other areas such as property.
It noted that a large proportion of its real estate agency contracts were set to expire in 12 months.
Real estate agencies advertise on Trade Me with discounted rates, paying a base rate and listing fees to a capped amount of $999 a month.
Trade Me chief executive Jon Macdonald said its contracts with real estate franchises were confidential and negotiated on a rolling basis.
But Trade Me had signalled its intention to change the way it charged agents to a simplified single fee per listing.
"We anticipate this fee per listing will be somewhere between $100 and $200 per listing and would be passed on to vendors."
Real estate agents spoken to said most agencies absorbed the base Trade Me fees, but would almost certainly pass the cost on to consumers if they rose.
Harcourts chief executive Hayden Duncan said that over time, Trade Me ran the risk of losing content if house sellers decided to cut costs.
But property commentator Alistair Helm said it would be hard for the industry to object to Trade Me's fees as it held such a dominant position in the online property advertising space.
Real Estate Institute chief executive Helen O'Sullivan said agents would feel the pinch but there were other advertising outlets.
"They [Trade Me] do have a very prominent position but they're not the only player in this space." Fairfax NZ
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