According to the most recent numbers from
Statistics Canada, Alberta ranks in the top three Canadian provinces with the
highest percentage of internet users. A further study, by Edmonton-based
listing service ComFree-Commission-Free Realty, found that 76 per cent of the
respondents frequented sites including Kijiji, Craigslist and other for sale
by owner domains to sell everything from furniture to their primary residence.

According to Travis Holowach, VP Marketing of Edmonton’s ComFree listing
service, online real estate sales are a part of a growing shift among
consumers, particularly in Alberta.

“Our customers are savvy individuals who are fed up with high real estate
commissions,” says Holowach. “In the past three years we have seen a
remarkable shift in consumer confidence. One in four Canadians are now selling
their own property, and in many cases turning to sites like ComFree to
simplify the process and provide the exposure they need.”

According to Neilsen Media Research, for sale by owner sites such as
Kijiji and Craigslist are seeing impressive numbers as more users discover
that cutting out the middleman is a profitable move. In 2007 Kijiji was
responsible for boosting E-Bay’s revenue by 105 per cent and Craigslist
reportedly receives more than 20 million visitors to the site each year.

When it came to studying the age demographic of ComFree users, the
information was surprising. In the age categories surveyed, the 20 to 35 year
old group, 35 – 55 and 55+ category equally represented the age demographic of
ComFree users. The study also found that more than 77 per cent of the
respondents are married with an average of one child per household. And in
most cases, both spouses worked outside of the home.

“Family and other commitments have us seeking out ways to save time and
money and the Internet is becoming a powerful tool to do this,” says Holowach.
“Our customers have confidence that they can use the site to sell their home
on their own and be more profitable than if they used a third party. The one
major feedback we hear is that the experience of selling was easier than they
thought. Our users can’t justify paying such a high commission to someone for
doing what they could easily do themselves.”