OnTheMarket is redundant as far as house hunters are concerned

By : Nick Marr

OnTheMarket is a property portal said to challenge Rightmove and Zoopla which are dominating the UK property listings sector in the UK. The two sites are charging agents more and more each year as estate agents become dependent upon the service they provide. Now an Agents Mutual consortuim is set to change this by clubbing together to create thier own portal. Its primary reason is to establis as a rival to the “anticompetitive duopoly” of Rightmove and Zoopla. The new portal has a set of rules not allowing agents who promote thier listings on the site to list with more than one other portal. According to stats released by Barclays Zoopla has seen a decline in its membership as estate agents leave them rather than Rightmove.

Property Industry Expert

Gavin Brazg who is the editor of one of the most established property advice websites www.TheAdvisory.co.uk  which has been referred to as  “The Online Bible for Property Sellers” comments about the new British property portal.

“What value will this new entrant to the property market bring for buyers and sellers? The venn diagram below shows that for house hunters, OnTheMarket.com brings nothing to the party. There will be no properties to see that can’t already be seen on Zoopla and Rightmove, with many only on one of the portals.  So it is vital for property sellers to have their houses on both portals in order to maximize their potential buyer reach. Given the majority of agents joining OnTheMarket have decided to drop Zoopla, this poses a real issue to house sellers in the south east.This is because the visitor demographics for Zoopla have a predominately South East bias, and so agents choosing to drop Zoopla will restrict their vendor clients’ chances of reaching this targeted pool of buyers.

It is hopeless for sellers, as they risk not getting the best possible price for their house because their agent will have a greatly reduced market reach. Zoopla and Rightmove have two very distinct audiences, and so it follows that if your agent is only on one of these established portals, you will miss out on reaching a very large pool of potential buyers from the other portal.

“I am also struggling to see the value that this new entrant brings to member estate agents – especially as they have to drop either Rightmove or Zoopla in order to join the site. It will affect their business because sellers will no doubt want the best reach of potential buyers and will therefore choose an agent that is on both Rightmove and Zoopla.

Recent comments by Carphone Warehouse found Sir Charles Dunstone echoe Gavin Brazg comments he said that the site’s “motivation is entirely wrong” because it was trying to stop competition, rather than focusing on the needs of consumers.

Despite Agents Mutual the largest agencies are not joining Connells, LSL and Countrywide (and their associated brands) were given shares by Zoopla and Rightmove to get them on board initially. It’s one method, like a one other portal rule, of guaranteeing a launch. Not surprisingly they are not selling their shares yet but are watching both the Stock and Property markets. These agents represent little more than 10% of the agency market.

No matter how much an agency saves on portal fees, if they don’t have any clients, they’re dead in the water.
Potentially, their gamble to secure long term fee savings will turn out to be a crippling short-term disaster because in the war to win hearts and minds of potential vendor clients, OnTheMarket agents have just given their competitors a massive gift.
Courtesy of: TheAdvisory