Domain boss likens tough property market to 1990s bust

“It’s an extraordinary period,” Mr Pellegrino told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age after Domain’s annual general meeting on Monday morning, adding real estate agents were also facing the same pressures of fewer listings. Domain acquired point of sale platform Real Time Agent on Monday, which provides technology services to reduce the burden of administrative tasks for sales agents.


The comments come after rival real estate listings website REA Group boss Owen Wilson said on Friday that it was the worst property sales market in decades despite prices starting to lift in major markets Sydney and Melbourne.

REA Group had a 9 per cent fall in revenue for the first quarter at the News Corp-controlled portal after a “manufactured downturn” from the regulators and state governments following a major property boom and concerns of an affordability crisis, he said.

While Mr Pellegrino agreed with Mr Wilson on how difficult the current market is, and admitted it was “weak” on the supply side and “remains challenging”, he did see some improvement month-on-month from July to October.

Domain’s digital revenue was down 8 per cent for the year so far, compared to an 11 per cent decline in the fourth quarter in 2019. Total revenue was down 12 per cent over the period.

Total new listings fell 14 per cent across the country, with auction volumes also declining significantly by 10 per cent in Sydney and 18 per cent in Melbourne.

“It’s hard to call the end [of the downturn] as there’s a lot of variables,” he said. “But it has definitely improved.”

Domain has forecast a 7 per cent reduction in costs for the first half of the 2020 financial year, when excluding the benefit of new accounting standards and adjusting for divestments.

Domain shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the company;s executive remuneration report, re-election of board director Geoff Kleeman and chairman Nick Falloon, and the payment of options to Mr Pellegrino.


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