Industry reacts to Property24 price increase
The annual price increase of the country’s biggest property portal, Property24, was met with some dismay in the property industry last week, especially on social media.
In a “Dear Valued Customer” letter subscribers were notified last week about the annual subscription price increase. The letter began highlighting that over 4.3 million unique users browsed the website in January 2019 and that the site showed more than 20% growth year on year.
What irked some of their subscribers was the new changes in the pricing structure such as the introduction of a new “Lead-Price bracket”, splitting the 50-250 lead bracket into 50-150 leads and 150-250 leads. According to Kathy Richings Badenhorst, principal estate agent of Hillside Properties Kenridge, this meant for some agencies an almost 50% increase in their subscription fees.
In her complaint on social media, Badenhorst also complained about the fact that views of their contact numbers were counted as leads generated even though this number is far fewer than the actual calls, emails or SMS leads they received about the listed property. Her post attracted comments from many agents bemoaning the same issues while others also reminded the complainers that there are a growing number of alternative portals available to share their listings. Private Property was mentioned a few times but also various other independents.
Property Professional also asked a few other property practitioners for their comments. Here’s what they had to say on the matter.
Myles Wakefield, CEO of Wakefields Real Estate:
“There’s little surprise here. The rate increase by Property 24, was entirely expected. Let’s not forget, we all have choices, which go beyond being circumspect about the properties, and number of properties, we list on that portal. There are a number of growing platforms and portals which are gaining traction and producing very good results. Private Property is one such, let’s support them. Let’s drive traffic to our own websites via excellent resources such as Google, Facebook and YouTube. Property brands are seeing results from these, and we need to explore alternative channels.”
Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group:
“P24’s strategy of creating new leads brackets/categories every year makes it difficult to compare apples with apples, however the net result is that many agencies are facing increases in monthly subscriptions of 18% to 33% from 1 April 2019, which far exceeds the current CPI of less than 6%. Following similar annual increases since 2014, this means that P24’s fees have on average, increased by more than 120% over the past 5 years. This blatant disregard for the impact of prevailing market conditions on the majority of real estate agencies, serves to strengthen the feeling within the industry that P24 do not regard it as a valuable partner, but rather a ‘cash cow to be milked’.”
Clive Levy, principal of Clive Levy Properties:
“It is horrendous these price increases annually, only because they know they have “got us.” But the wheel turns, nothing is permanent as the old Saturday Star discovered when they lost almost the entire real estate community to the Sunday Times….watch this space; even if you have a virtual monopoly (which they tried by trying to buy Private Property and failed) the wheel turns….and turn it will!
(That would be the Competition Commission of South Africa. Ed.)
Related article: Industry believes P24 subscription increase is cause for concern