Maybe it's true, what Lars Kilander, former CEO of Mäklarsamfundet (the Association of Swedish Real Estate Agents), said, it is too complicated for many that there are more than one (read Hemnet) residential portal. However, the competition is for sure pushing the service level offered to the buyers and sellers.
The tipping point
For many years the only two portals on the market was Hemnet (owned by the two largest broker federation and two newspapers) and Bovision (back then part of Capitex). Then in 2008 things started to happend. Booli, Bospindeln (two Swedish start ups) and Boliga (Danish portal) entered the market and offered a much more intuitive search engines. Read more here.
Reaction I - Bovision goes from listing to search engine
Bovison, since 2006 owned by the Finnish media group Alma Media, made a major strategic move in April by adding listings collected as a search engine (not just paid listings by the brokers). Bosvion also started to blog. The goal is to be the largest portal, which is quite away to go, since they today has one 10th of the traffic compared to Hemnet. Read articles at Dagens Media and InternetWorld.
Reaction II - Hemnet goes 2.0
Hemnet is the largest real estate portal in Sweden but also dumbed by many as the most underdeveloped site in the area (compared to the possibilities). However, changes are on the way and they are making no secret that the reason behind it; the pressure from the new players. The new CEO Carl-Henrik Borg (his Twitter) is quoted saying "... it is great if our engineers are challenged by the new services..." (my translation). The new version is to be launched on the 1st on June. Read more at DN, InternetWorld, PropertyPortal (in english).
It will be interesting in deed to see how those upgrades will make the services even better.