Purplebricks has been accused of raising its fees for the second time this year in Australia.
However, Purplebricks says it has not raised prices but is now including accompanied viewings, previously an optional extra, in its private treaty price packages.
The Australian Financial Review says that in New South Wales and Victoria, sellers now have to pay $6,769, up from $5,999, an increase of almost 13%.
In Queensland, Western Australia and South Australia, the minimum upfront fee has increased to $5,769, up from $4,999 and an increase of more than 15%.
In January it hiked its fees by 33% in Victoria, and by 10% in other states.
However, a spokesperson for Purplebricks in Australia said that the cost of selling a property with accompanied viewings is unchanged.
The spokesperson said: “Previously this was an ‘add-on’ feature but given it has been selected by almost all of our customers and is proven to contribute to a stronger result, it is now included.”
The Australian Financial Review claims that the cost of selling a home through Purplebricks Australia is now about four times more expensive than using Purplebricks in the UK, where vendors outside London pay £849 ($1,541).
In Australia, Purplebricks offers vendors the choice of a private treaty sale or taking their property to auction. These latter prices are unchanged.
Meanwhile a new threat to traditional estate agents has emerged in Australia – amid claims that it is bigger than that posed by Purplebricks.
The Real Estate News Group says that the ‘assisted vendor DIY’ model was tiny five years ago – but almost overnight has mushroomed.
Vendor DIY agencies listed over 6,500 homes last year and this – more than four times the 1,500 listed in the same period by Purplebricks.
Names of agencies specialising in agent-free options include BuyMyPlace and No Agent Property.
Typically, there is an upfront fee of $700 which is charged to list the property. Vendors get a signboard to erect themselves.
More expensive packages include photos, floorplans and brochures, sold to vendors at a premium.
However, the Real Estate News Group reports that half of the 6,500 properties listed failed to sell, and those that did took over 300 days.