Zoopla Property Group says that in the last three months alone over 100 estate agency branches have returned to its portal having deserted OnTheMarket - with the ZPG announcement coming as OTM marks its second anniversary.
ZPG says this brings the total number of branches that have returned to Zoopla and PrimeLocation to 700 since the challenger portal came into existence on this date in 2015.
ZPG - which describes its Zoopla and PrimeLocation websites as the UK’s number two and number three portals - says the most recent batch of returning agents include multi-branch firms such as Bacon & Co in West Sussex, Jeanes Holland Burnell in mid-Somerset, Belvoir in central London, Porter Glenny in Barking, Dixon & Co in Stafford, Reid & Roberts of north Wales, Roberts & Co from south east Wales, Sheens of Essex, Hodders of Surrey, Corrie & Co from Cumbria and Loveitts in the Midlands.
ZPG has also reported an increase in total property listings advertised on its websites of 10 per cent compared to one year ago.
The recent returnees are separate from the new recruits at Property Service Holdings - parent company of the 150 branches trading under the Romans and Leaders names - which last week announced it had signed up to Zoopla Property Group. Leaders already listed on Zoopla but Romans had previously been with Rightmove only.
One of the agents who returned in to ZPG in recent weeks - Ian Odam, director of Jeanes Holland Burnell, says: "In January 2015, we decided to join OTM after leaving ZPG. After two years of supporting the OTM project, we felt unable to sustain the membership with them any longer as we believed we were missing out by not listing our stock with ZPG."
“In December 2016, we re-listed with ZPG and such has been the response, our offices have received as many leads in the first few weeks than we received in the previous six months with OTM, and on par with the number we receive from Rightmove."
“In this short time of being back with ZPG, we have also received and won valuation leads from them that we wouldn't have ever received, had we not been listing with them."
In May 2015, OnTheMarket claimed that it would be the number two portal in the UK by the end of January 2016.
In a statement yesterday evening there was no repeat of that target.
Instead, a spokesperson said: “While we are naturally disappointed that any individual firm chooses to withdraw its support from OnTheMarket, the fact that Zoopla Property Group attracted a total of 100 new offices over the past three months is hardly spectacular. It represents between one per cent and two per cent of our total UK agent numbers. OnTheMarket continues to grow both its agent office numbers and its consumer traffic year-on-year. The overwhelming majority of our members remain strongly supportive of our shared goal of building over time a market-leading alternative portal in the interests of consumers and agents alike."