Urban.com.au, Australia’s largest dedicated off-the-plan property marketplace, has announced the acquisition of the Property Observer website, and the subsequent merger of the two platforms, effective from Friday 11 December.
Property Observer was founded in 2011 by Jonathan Chancellor while at Eric Beecher’s Private Media (publisher of Crikey and Smart Company among others) and quickly established itself as Australia’s #1 property investment news website. Chancellor acquired full ownership of the site in 2015.
Chancellor was property editor of The Sydney Morning Herald for 25 years until 2011, pioneering popularising coverage of “celebrity real estate” in Sydney at the same time Antony Catalano was doing so at The Age for the Melbourne market.
Chancellor continues to write for The Australian and the Daily and Sunday Telegraph. Earlier this year he was also the daily Margin Call columnist for The Australian.
Urban.com.au (formerly Urban Melbourne) was founded by Mark Baljak and Alastair Taylor in 2013 as a property blog and online news portal.
After its acquisition in 2018 by tech entrepreneurs Mike Bird and George Glover (pictured), Urban.com.au evolved to become a one-stop-shop for home-hunters seeking informed, independent content and information for off-the-plan apartment and townhouse projects and developers across Australia.
Chancellor told his Property Observer readers: “Ever since the launch of the website in 2011, Property Observer has endeavoured under my editorship to make our readers as informed as possible. I write to update you with news that there has been a recent change in ownership of the platform.
“Property Observer has been bought by the team at Urban.com.au. I will continue to lead the authoritative editorial coverage as the content of the past decade gets incorporated under the Urban umbrella.
“From today you will notice our pivot to shared new horizons. We will still be showcasing the best apartments and trophy houses, and writing on the big name buyers and sellers too. Our editorial team will keep capturing the changing seasons, applying our focus for the owner occupier and the investor, from first time buyers to down-sizers, from buying locally to interstate. Our work will seek to offer you wisdom on winning ways with property, especially off the plan buying. No let off in our auction analysis nor the expert commentary from key industry players.”
Today, Urban.com.au houses information on over 10,000 developments including 2,500 active development listings across Australia, and is used by some of the country’s largest developers including OSK Property, Dahua Group & Bensons Property Group.
The acquisition will add an estimated 200,000 unique monthly users to the Urban.com.au platform and is expected to more than double the annual audience reach to approximately 4 million.
Urban.com.au chief executive officer Mike Bird said: “Our acquisition of Property Observer brings together a leading property news site with Australia’s largest dedicated off-the-plan property portal to further empower our audience with unique insights on the new development landscape, while delivering national editorial coverage of the off-the-plan market.
“The addition of the Property Observer news service, and the searchable back-catalogue of articles that will be available for our users, just adds another dimension to the portal and provides even more value for home buyers.
“What Jonathan and his team have created with their independent approach to Property Observer aligns with our values and we share Jonathan’s belief that transparency and education are the key ingredients to a successful property buying journey.
“Our vision for Urban.com.au is to bring together not just property information, research and community discussion, but independent journalism and editorial coverage to deliver a place where home-buyers can be informed, educated and ultimately empowered to go further through the home-buying journey on their own terms.”
The merger of the two websites will take effect later this week when Property Observer’s platform will be integrated with Urban.com.au and Property Observer will become the news and editorial portal within Urban.com.au, with Chancellor assuming the role of editor-in-chief.
Over 36,000 back catalogue articles from Property Observer will be transferred onto the site alongside 3,500 archival articles from Urban.com.au as part of the sites’ amalgamation, providing a comprehensive and searchable editorial database for users.