News Corp and Fairfax real estate arms expand into mortgage broking both claiming ‘Australian firsts’

Within days of each other both Fairfax’s Domain Group and REA Group’s – which is majority owned by News Corp Australia –  have diversified their offering and made big moves into the mortgage broking market.


The expansions are part of both companies’ attempts to become end-to-end solutions for consumers, who can now come to the platforms to consume real estate news, search for properties, connect with professionals and begin the home loan process.

REA’s new offering has been described by the company as “an Australian-first end-to-end digital property search and financing experience”, while Domain said its expansion marks “Australia’s first end-to-end property search and finance platform”.

REA Group’s has acquired a majority 80.3% stake in mortgage broking franchise Smartline, while Domain is gearing up to launch Domain Loan Finder – powered by the Lendi platform – which will act as a comparison tool for consumers and also connect them with home loan specialists.

Domain’s new offering will act as a comparison tool, connecting consumers with a panel of more than 30 lenders as well as what it describes as a “national community of home loan specialists for personalised help and advice”.

Domain Loan Finder will run as part of a joint venture with Lendi’s parent company, Auscred, with Domain holding a 60% stake.

Commenting on the launch, Domain chief executive Antony Catalano said the move was an “important strategic announcement” for Domain.

“Domain will be Australia’s first end-to-end property search and finance platform.

“Lendi is a fast-growing consumer brand with a superior product offering, and we are very excited that Lendi will be powering Domain Loan Finder to help Australians secure the best home loan available to them.

“We expect Domain Loan Finder will quickly become a must-use and valuable digital tool for all Australians looking to secure a home loan.”

He said he will market the solution to consumers in a “highly relevant, personalised, and timely way”.

Catalano: “Domain will be Australia’s first end-to-end property search and finance platform”

“Domain is well positioned to utilise its popular consumer technology platforms to enter into a partnership in the Australian home loan broking market, which generates about $2 billion a year in commissions, and to expand beyond its current home loan lead referral business.

“This new offering is part of the full complement of real estate products and services that Domain is building out to deliver on the modern needs of today’s property buyers, owners and sellers, as well as to grow new transactional revenues,” he said.

Lendi Managing Director, David Hyman, added: “Tapping into Domain’s strong market position, we’re looking forward to bringing an integrated home loan experience to the property buying process.

“With more and more consumers turning to online channels as part of their home loan research, there’s a huge opportunity to enhance that journey with contextual and relevant engagement as they progress through the property buying journey.”

Just yesterday, entered an agreement to acquire a majority 80.3% stake in mortgage broking franchise Smartline.

The remaining 19.7% of Smartline will be retained by current management. Despite the acquisition, Smartline will continue to be led by executive director and co-founder Chris Acret.

The real estate portal is also building on its strategic partnership with NAB, which was announced in December 2016.

The expanded partnership means the bank and real estate platform will build a broking solution, Home Loans, later this year. Mortgage brokers who currently work under the Choice Home Loans brand – which is also owned by NAB’s Advantedge – will have the opportunity to join the new broking business.

REA Group also claimed an Australian first, saying in a release: “ and NAB have also agreed to build a mortgage broking solution which adds to the strategic partnership announced in December 2016 to create an Australian-first end-to-end digital property search and financing experience. ”


REA Group CEO, Tracey Fellows said it was important to build a presence in the broker market channel for “financial services” strategy.

“These investments allow us to enter a new market with two of the industry’s most trusted and successful mortgage broking operations.

“Providing a broker solution will complement the digital search and finance experience we are building in partnership with NAB on  It’s about giving people greater choice when selecting the right home loan for them,” said Fellows.


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