The REA Group, which owns Australian online real estate site RealEstate.com.au, is continuing its global expansion through the acquisition of the atHome group of real estate sites, the company said Monday.

The deal, valued at 4.5 million euro (1 euro = $1.29 US), is the third European real estate acquisition for REA in the last 14 months.

AtHome operates five real estate sites covering Luxembourg (residential and commercial sites), the Wallonie region of Belgium, the Lorraine region of France, and the Trier region of Germany. According to REA, more than 500 agents currently use the sites.

“The acquisition of the atHome group of sites continues to build out our European operations by providing the REA Group with a presence in four new markets,” said Simon Baker, managing director of the REA Group.

Baker said the REA Group will work with atHome’s management team to solidify its market-leading position in Luxembourg and to continue to drive its expansion into Belgium, and selected regions of France and Germany.

The REA Group, which operates seven major real estate sites in Australia, New Zealand, Italy and the United Kingdom, has about 15,000 agent subscribers who pay to advertise their properties on the sites. The Australian Realestate.com.au is the company’s top site, with more than 90 percent of agents in Australia using the service to advertise homes, according to the company’s estimates.

The latest acquisition includes:

  • atHome.lu: A large real estate Web site in Luxembourg;

  • atOffice.lu: A real estate portal for Luxembourg’s commercial real estate market;

  • atHome.be: A real estate site launched in September 2005 in the south of Belgium;

  • atHomeLorraine.fr: A real estate site launched in October 2004 in the North Lorraine region of France;

  • atHome54.de: Launched in April 2006 for the area around Trier, Germany;

  • 51 percent equity stake in Altowin, a provider of office management tools for real estate agents in the Belgium market.

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