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Is REA Group Limited under threat?

REA Group Limited (ASX: REA) has the unquestionable leading property website in Australia in realestate.com.au, but a number of competitors are nipping at its heels.

Domain – the resurgent Fairfax Media Limited (ASX: FXJ) website has continued to improve, and the results show as earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) margins, revenues and other metrics grow.

Other players are entering the market too and pose a strong challenge for REA. Rent.com.au Ltd (ASX: RNT) has the second-highest average time spent on its website behind REA’s premier site – as the chart below shows.

Australian property websites

Source: Rent.com.au & AC Nielsen

 

Carsales.com Ltd (ASX: CAR) has the number 4 leading property site according to AC Nielsen’s June 2016 Market Intelligence Report. Considering the site has not been around for long, achieving the number 4 position is quite astonishing.

REIWA.com.au is the Real Estate institute of Western Australia – and it too provides similar services such as browsing for sale and rental properties.

Realcommercial.com.au is a REA property website, while Allhomes.com.au is owned by Domain. Realestateview.com.au is owned by the state real estate institutes.

One factor that continues to hinder REA Group is that real estate agents fear its dominance – as they should – given the company’s ability to push through price rises as the market leader with a huge competitive advantage.

As a result, it is in the agents’ interests to have a number of competitors to realestate.com.au.

Foolish takeaway

REA Group is likely to leverage its existing strength to maintain its leadership in the sector. But the company needs to keep a close eye on competitors focusing on niche positions such as Rent.com.au – which could erode REA Group’s overall competitive advantage.

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Motley Fool writer/analyst Mike King doesn't own shares in any companies mentioned. You can follow Mike on Twitter @TMFKinga

The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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