realestate.com.au has announced it will enter the mortgage broking market with the acquisition of an 80.3% stake in one of the country’s premier mortgage broking franchise groups, Smartline.
With an average monthly audience of 5.9 million, realestate.com.au will now have access to over 300 Smartline advisers nationally.
This acquisition adds to the strategic partnership with NAB, announced in December 2016, to create a digital property search and financing offering on the realestate.com.au platform. The investment further strengthens REA’s move into financing, an integral part of buying a property. Smartline is settling more than $6 billion in loans annually with a total loan-book of approximately $25 billion, giving the REA Financial Services segment greater scale and capability for the long term.
Executive Director and co-founder, Chris Acret and the existing management team will retain a 19.7% share in the business and Smartline will continue to operate under its current management structure and brand.
REA Group CEO Tracey Fellows commented: “We’re excited to be moving into the mortgage broking market with Smartline. Combining the expertise of both teams will help us build the best property search and finance offering for Australians.”
REA Group’s Executive Director of Financial Services Andrew Russell commented: “We’re delivering on our promise to simplify property search and financing by offering genuine choice when it comes to finding the right home loan.”
Smartline Executive Director and co-founder, Chris Acret commented: “This is a great fit for both businesses. Combining Smartline’s expert mortgage broking franchise and quality network of advisers with REA’s digital expertise and reach is an exciting opportunity for both of us.”