GOING ON THE MARKET? A WORD IN YOUR EAR …
The property portal On The Market has been in the news recently as its prepared for a floatation on the stock market. But, although it may be a topic of conversation in UK estate agents’ offices, we wouldn’t be surprised if it was under the radar of the buying and selling public.
But, as there was a TV campaign to herald its launch a little while ago and in case you feel you need to be filled in on what all the fuss is about, we thought we’d offer a potted history of the story so far:
What is On The Market?
On The Market is a property portal set up by Agents Mutual – a consortium of high street estate agents opposed to the Rightmove/Zoopla duopoly. Not happy about the fees they had to pay either (or both) to advertise property online, they set up their own portal to compete with the two established names. Stock was always going to be an issue to begin so fees for listings with On The Market were considerably lower to tempt agents to give it a try. However, those who signed up had to abide by the controversial “one-other-portal” rule which decreed, if they wanted to use On The Market, they had to dump either Zoopla or Rightmove. Online estate agents like us – and even the bigger names like Emoov and Purple Bricks – were not permitted to use the new portal.
What benefit is there to the participating agents?
Put simply, they get to advertise property online much more cheaply. They also have a semblance of control over the portal as it’s owned by the consortium of leading high street estate agents. It also cuts out the online agents, whose lower fees many traditional estate agents see as a direct threat.
And the drawbacks?
Despite an initial impact – particularly on Zoopla, which most agents who joined On The Market opted to dump – the new portal hasn’t really taken the market by storm. Its share of the online audience is still lagging well behind Zoopla and Rightmove who have continued to return impressive trading results. As a result, some high street agents have begun to get a little twitchy about the reduction in profile for properties they’re trying to sell – to such an extent some have rebelled against the “one-other-portal” rule.
What happens next?
It has been announced that Agents Mutual wishes to offer shares in On The Market. A floatation will raise capital which can then be re-invested in the business – hopefully giving On the Market a better profile and thus more traction.
So, as a seller or a buyer, what’s in it for me?
Probably nothing. This was never about improving services for customers. It was about taking on the online portals and reducing the participating agents’ overheads.
Will the floatation change that?
Possibly, but it depends if the change from a mutual to a new (public) company also means an end to the “one-other-portal” rule. At the moment, customers signed up to agents using On The Market have a significantly reduced audience for their property as it (probably) won’t be advertised on Zoopla. If the new-look company relaxes the restrictions, then customers’ homes will be available to view on as many portals as they wish.
Hopefully, that answers questions you may have. As an online agent, we are not members of On The Market but currently advertise our customers’ homes on both Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as PrimeLocation and an international network of 80 property portals in over 50 countries and in 19 different languages. If you’d like to know more, feel free to drop us a line or even give us a call. We’d be more than happy to help.