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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Zoopla reports rise in estate agency membership and listings

Zoopla is back in business with its trading update to the City this morning revealing that it has a net growth of 213 estate agency branches in the period from April to the end of July.

This takes the total UK agency membership up to 12,556 branches and marks the first reversal in fortunes for Zoopla since the arrival of challenger website OnTheMarket, which until recently stated it wanted to become Britain’s second largest portal by the end of 2015.

The company statement says: ”Management is encouraged by the reduction in churn and return to growth of the UK Agency business, combined with the strong performance of its members who continue to grow their listings. 

“The [Zoopla Property] Group had 2,672 new home development members, 684 overseas members and 219 commercial members taking the total number of members at the end of the Period to 16,131.”

The listings inventory has grown seven per cent from 828,000 to 882,000 properties over the same period.

Traffic is also strong, Zoopla reports, with 45.6m monthly visits on average between April 1 and July 31. It is also sending “record numbers of appraisal leads to members, up 103 per cent over the same period last year and helping our members win more business”.

Alex Chesterman, ZPG founder and chief executive - who has a new remuneration package announced in this morning’s figures and subject to shareholder approval - says: “We are very pleased that over the past few months of trading we have returned to growth in our number of UK agency members. Our huge audience of property-interested consumers remains loyal and engaged and our members are enjoying strong performance and a competitive advantage in terms of both brand exposure and leads generated via our platform. 

“With the acquisition of [price comparison website] uSwitch now complete and the business performing well, we are focused on developing our combined services to provide consumers with a single resource for all their property needs which will serve to further enhance our user engagement and create a greater competitive advantage for our advertisers.”

Chesterman’s deal means he will be able to sell 4.25m ZPG shares - at the start of trading today they were worth around 254p per share - but he is locked in to leading the group “for the next few years.”

This afternoon, OnTheMarket chief executive Ian Springett responded in defiant terms.

“Zoopla Property Group’s trading update only serves to underline the success and progress of OnTheMarket" he says, describing Zoopla's agency growth as "tepid". 

"The fact is that Zoopla Property Group has lost overall share of agents and traffic as OnTheMarket has become established and as the overwhelming majority of our members retain the dominant market leader as their other portal" he says. 

Springett continues: “Support for OnTheMarket continues to increase daily and with such a strong desire for it to succeed from agents all across the UK - and a substantial growth in its traffic figures to more than 5.2m visits in July - we are confident not only that OTM is here to stay but that we can ultimately achieve our objective to develop a proper alternative to the market leader."

When ZPG last produced figures in May, it had lost 16 per cent of its global members in the year to the end of March - including, critically, 23 per cent of its UK agency members, almost all of which had defected to OnTheMarket.

But the number of visits to Zoopla and Primelocation in the year to the end of March had actually increased from 240m to 265m over the previous 12 month period, notwithstanding the loss of agents.

  • icon

    Good for Zoopla.

    I hate to say 'I told you so' and anyway its a bit early, but it really isn't looking good for Ian Springett and co. The negative PR put around about Zoopla over the past year has done nothing except serve the interests of OTM and those agents who wanted to pull others into the project to protect themselves.

    Only question now for me is how long it takes for the agents who have contributed to OTM to turn their backs on it.

  • Simon Shinerock

    It's good to see Zoopla shrugging off the OTM challenge so early on. There is a lot of 'noise out there on this issue. I have been doing a bit of my own analysis and I have formed a few preliminary conclusions about the OTM attempt to disrupt the portal market.

    In essence I see OTM members falling into two groups. The first group are in areas where most or all the agents joined OTM and drooped Zoopla. In these areas I think these agents are broadly where they were prior to joining OTM.

    However the second group of agents are in areas where less than half of the local agents joined OTM and crucially where the market leaders did not join. In these areas I suspect joining OTM has resulted in a loss of market share as the market leaders batter their weaker competitors with ther greater marketing reach.

    I predict that those agents in the marginal group who only signed up for OTM for one year will leave in mass at the first opportunity. This will leave even more agents in marginal areas, the ones locked in for five years, well I guess you make your bed and then you have to lie in it.

  • Simon Shinerock

    I realise it's hard for OTM supporters to comment 'over here' but really, I and a lot of others would like to hear what you have to say now and whether any of you are big enough to admit you were wrong

  • Simon Shinerock

    Hi Sarah
    It's no secret I have been outspokenly against OTM from an early point when I realised I disagreed strongly with their ethos, approach and business model. Since inception everything they have done reeks of arrogance, entitlement and a lack of customer focus. They seem to want to uninvent the Internet but really I think the whole thing has been misguided opportunism disguised as common interest

  • icon

    Hi Sarah,

    I do not usually pop in here. But thought i may as well considering the comments brought to light.

    Did you want to be transparent in your comments here and let the other readers know what i said or why i said it?

    And questioning somebodies warped view is not attacking.

  • icon

    Hi Sarah,

    If you look at your comments i think you are looking at picking fights and running away.

    If you also are a regular reader of posts you will know i do not even advertise on OTM, i advertise on RM and Z .

  • icon

    Hi Sarah.

    I am not hounding you. I think to start 10 threads on two stories. claiming everybody at all three portals are discriminating against race with no proof is very silly.

    You then come over to another website and try and play the victim (and bring me into it).

    Actions have consequences. If you accuse major UK employers and estate agents of being racists and now sexist, you have to expect comments. Unfortuanlty for you people do not share your thoughts.

    On the other site you liked all your own comments multiple times and disliked other comments multiple times. You are throwing stones looking for a reaction.

    You then come over here playing the victim. Unfortuantly for you a number of posters read both sites so they can see how silly and immature your comments are. Simon himself pops in from time to time.

    I am not hounding, you pulled me into this, I am just setting the record straight. If anybody does want to see what all the fuss is about take a look at the other site (sorry to plug them on here).

    I think you will find Ms.S.Parker is an incredibly angry, volatile, individual with a bad attitude looking to pick fights and then runs off.

    I will leave it there ............ Unless of course you wish to start further fights.

  • icon

    Sarah Parker sounds like an absolute bunny boiler. I didn't know Springett was on 500k but if that's true - wow. Insane salary for an unproven start up but I guess they do have 5 year contracts out there.

    On a side note does anyone know if there is a 6 month break clause in the OTM contracts? A competitor of mine who joined seems to think he can cancel anytime after 6 months.

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    In all seriousness if the other website did delete your comments that isn't on. You leaving a thousand comments probably didn't help your cause but they shouldn't have deleted them. Also as a British born Chinese person I couldn't care less how many Chinese are in the property industry. It doesn't bother me. By your logic applicants should also represent the ethnic make up of the places towns and cities they're buying into?

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