Entegral voices real estate industry concerns at the Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry (OIPMI)
In February this year, the Competition Commission of South Africa launched its “Online Intermediation Platforms Market Inquiry (OIPMI)”. The Commission published a draft for public comment outlining its plan to investigate these markets and stating that “the Commission has reason to believe that there exist market features which impede, distort or restrict competition amongst the platforms themselves, and which undermine the purposes of the [Competition] Act.”
While it encompasses companies like Takealot, Uber Eats, and Airbnb, it also started an investigation into property portals and listing syndication providers. Which caught the attention of Entegral as we know that:
- High portal prices are a big problem for many of our real estate clients. Are they justified, and do they deliver value for agents?
- Some platform market features hinder fair competition between portals, service providers, and innovative new real estate models;
- Competition amongst platforms is fierce, and there is a focus on holding on to the listing data at all costs, which we believe is not ideal for consumers and doesn't promote a level playing field. There are also barriers of entry for smaller agencies and portals to enter the industry;
- There is a lack of transparency in the real estate industry, which results in smaller agencies inadvertently funding larger competitors via their support for portals and bond originators. We also see a huge problem with exclusive partnerships between portals and industry organisations.
The past week arguably presented one of the best opportunities for the real estate industry to voice its concerns and engage with the Commission and portals within a transparent, public forum. Entegral started engaging with the Competition Commission earlier this year, did some research, talked to clients, presented our views, had meetings, and last week also participated in the public hearings as the only service provider, and notably the only self-funded real estate service provider. You can view the recordings here:
- Entegral presentation
- Private Property presentation
- Property24 presentation
- 0800 properties presentation
- Property Central presentation
As noted by Entegral CEO, Adriaan Grové, we are looking forward to further participating and contributing, to ensure more people are empowered in the real estate ecosystem.