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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Zoopla to provide latest figures on agency members this week

Zoopla says it will later this week give an update on the number of agents it now has as members - the latest stage in its ongoing rivalry with OnTheMarket.

Although full year trading results for Zoopla Property Group will not be issued until December 2, there will this week be a release of ‘top line’ trading and agent membership figures this week in what City jargon refers to as “a post close update.”

On Friday equity research analysts at Numis Securities Ltd issued a note to investors giving an ‘add’ status to ZPG, with Numis claiming there was “a potential upside of 27.46 per cent from the company’s current price.”

Two months ago, in an earlier trading statement, ZPG management said it anticipated seeing “UK agency churn returning towards more normal historic levels and an increase in the number of new and returning member enquiries” following the early-2015 defection of some agents to challenger website OnTheMarket. 

It is thought that Gascoigne Halman, an 18-office agency in the Manchester and Cheshire area being taken over by Connells Group - which uses Rightmove and Zoopla - may move away from OTM as a result of the deal. 

And last week the proprietor of a single-office estate agency in Cornwall issued an open letter explaining why she was taking her company off OnTheMarket and back to Zoopla. 

Lisa Arcari, who operates My Place in Cornwall, claims she had been taken in by OTM’s original sales pitch, has accused the portal of not responding to complaints, and says she cannot see how she would benefit from activities like the opening of an OnTheMarket international property sales channel, as recently revealed on Estate Agent Today. 

In her letter, addressed to the OTM board, she says: “Over the past few months, my membership of your organisation has lost me money and lost me business.”

OnTheMarket responded to the letter with a statement saying it was sorry “this individual agent” was dissatisfied but added that it did not comment on contractual relations with members. “Since launching less than nine months ago OnTheMarket has established itself as a serious player in the property portals market” says a spokesperson for the portal.

OTM also says it has no comment to make on industry speculation that it is about to embark on an additional advertising programme funded by Gold members.

Rightmove - which remains largely unaffacted by the Zoopla-OTM rivalry - says it will next report on its agent membership total on February 26.

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