Analysis of Britain’s three rival property portals shows that Rightmove is strengthening its position, Zoopla’s loss of agents has stabilised, and OnTheMarket’s impact on the portal landscape is reducing.
The study has been undertaken by Swiss bank UBS.
“Our analysis from UBS 'evidence lab' suggests that, after an initial surge post its January launch, the progress of new UK property portal OnTheMarket has been slow and that agent share has now stabilised” it says.
“On the consumer side OTM continues to have limited traction with its app download share only five per cent of the combined app downloads of the three property portal companies (Rightmove 57 per cent, Zoopla 38 per cent). It is our view that OTM is unlikely to work over time” claims UBS.
It says OnTheMarket, which launched six months ago, now has about 5,200 agents signed up, from about 19,000 to 20,000 possible offices.
“We see it as having actually strengthened the hand of market leader Rightmove and reiterate our Buy rating [of Rightmove]. Zoopla lost initial share, but our Buy rating [of Zoopla] reflects a view this will reverse over the next few years, and we see UBS evidence lab data suggesting stabilization of its position in the last months as supportive” says the report.
The bank also says Rightmove’s strength could be down to more than just its historic dominance in the UK portal market and the end of the housing downturn: “It could be some agents returning from OTM too. Upgrading of its app offering has seen it established on our data as the leading UK property portal app above Zoopla in the last 12 months too. Overall we see the launch of OTM as having actually strengthened the position of Rightmove by making it a stronger number one in the segment” the report says.
UBS adds: “Our data shows that Zoopla had a slight increase in agent branch count in June suggesting stabilisation of its market share loss. Its consumer traction has remained solid, with its app download share having fallen somewhat reactive to Rightmove (potentially due to improved Rightmove functionality), but they remain in the top 30 in the Lifestyle category.”
The report also claims that four of what it calls the 'top 100' estate agents are breaking OTM's only-one-other-portal rule.
It concludes: “We see the results as supportive of our view that Zoopla will remain the number two UK property portal and will slowly recover its share losses to OTM.”
The full report is here.