At least one City analyst has given a frosty response to a statement from OnTheMarket claiming that the new portal’s membership is “much higher” than anticipated.
The OTM statement says it has “well over 6,000 offices” of which 90 per cent - that is, 5,400 - are contracted; the statement suggests that around 600 others have signed non-binding letters of intent.
OTM says its target is to reach 7,500 members - combining those contracted and those with letters of intent - at which point the portal claims it will have reached a “tipping point.”
However, in a detailed note to investors, City investment consultancy Credit Suisse is sceptical that the claims actually constitute progress for the challenger portal.
Credit Suisse has told investors that: “5,400 members is in line with recent unofficial estimates we have heard from the market and is in-line with our expectations. We believe it shows that growth in contractual membership has all but dried up. In March 2015 the site had 5,000 members - meaning the group has added 400 contractual members in around eight months, that is 50 per month. “
It goes on: “With this likely front-end loaded and aided by market growth, we believe that net movement of agents between ZPG and OTM is now likely flat [sic].”
The consultancy is scathing in its description of the non-binding letters of intent as “a publicity stunt”
It also says that data from digital analytics company Comscore suggests that OTM has around nine per cent of the monthly unique audience of Zoopla and and eight per cent of its daily audience.
“We would further highlight the average OTM visitor spends circa 40 per cent less time on site than a ZPG visitor. ... October Comscore data should be out within the next week. We will continue to monitor this but overall see traffic as uncompetitive.”