REA Group CEO Owen Wilson
REA Group CEO Owen Wilson. Photo supplied.
  • REA Group has announced a proposal to take over Mortgage Choice
  • The business is subject to shareholder and regulatory approvals
  • The deal is expected to complete in 3 months

One would think that if you were far and away the largest property listings website in the country, that selling home loans would be a natural extension.

This has not always been the case as often the real estate agent has the ear of the buyer, and can suggest a friendly broker, or the buyer has their own broker or banking relationship.

So, if you wanted to balance things more in your favour, you’d probably buy a major franchise and add it to the mix.

This seems to be the strategy for the REA Group (owner of the number one property site in Australia realestate.com.au) with its announcement to acquire Mortgage Choice.

In a statement yesterday, the Group said that “this acquisition will accelerate REA’s financial services strategy to create a leading mortgage broking business with scale, supported by the Group’s digital expertise, property data insights and high intent property seeker audience.”

This is code for: we are serious about capturing more of the home loan market, and we’re buying a franchise with 380 offices as our next move.

The REA Group already owns Smartline Home Loans, an Australian mortgage broking franchise, in addition to various property data and overseas portal businesses in Asia, including India.

“The proposed acquisition of Mortgage Choice is an exciting development that will bring together our well established Smartline business and franchisee network with the complementary Mortgage Choice organisation and its significant broker footprint,” said REA Group CEO, Owen Wilson.

“Each month 12 million Australians turn to realestate.com.au to search, find and finance their next property.

Together with our Smartline business, having Mortgage Choice join the REA network will enable us to provide our audience with an even greater number of expert brokers to meet their financing needs.”

REA Group CEO, Owen Wilson

The transaction is still subject to conditions being met, including Mortgage Choice
shareholder and regulatory approvals, and is expected to take approximately three months to complete.

“Between now and the completion of the acquisition there will be no change to the service, support or products our clients receive from Smartline. Once the transaction completes we look forward to working with Mortgage Choice to add further value to our clients, franchisees and business partners,” said Smartline CEO, Sam Boer.

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