realestate.com.au profits are up despite fewer homes for sale

William West/AFP/Getty Images

REA, the majority-owned News Corp online property classified business, posted a 6% rise in half year profit to $121.8 million despite a drop in listings.

Revenue jumped 16% to $337.3 million in the six months to December on the back of a 13% rise in Australian sales and the inclusion of iProperty, the Asia-based unit it bought 12 months ago for $580 million.

“We’ve been able to deliver strong revenue growth in spite of lower listing volumes,” says CEO Tracey Fellows.

“We’ve done this through the success of our premium listing products and through innovations across our business.”

REA says listings, the number of homes for sale on its Australian sites, are down but the company didn’t reveal a number.

Last year the company noted a 8% fall in listings, mainly in Sydney and Melbourne, in the lead up to and post the July federal election.

Other industry players have noted a sharp drop in the number of homes for sale.

ASX-listed real estate agents McGrath say listings have been down since November.

And numbers from property industry analysts CoreLogic show a steep drop in the number of properties for sale in most capital cities. There are 13.9% fewer for sale in Sydney than a year ago, 8.4% down in Melbourne and 20.1% in Canberra.

Sales by auction are also impacting REA’s business. The company says the lower property listing volumes and lower average days on market is at least partly due to high auction clearance rates in Sydney and Melbourne.

In December, realestate.com.au entered into a five-year strategic partnership with National Australia Bank. As part of the agreement, realestate.com.au will receive funding from NAB for the joint development as well as commissions for home loans settled.

In Australia, residential listing depth revenue increased 14% to $194 million, driven by the success of the company’s Premiere All service, where agents pay extra for a more prominent listing.

The company declared a fully franked interim dividend of 40 cents a share, an 11% increase on 2016.

REA claims the largest and most engaged audience of any real estate listing site:

Source: REA

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