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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

OnTheMarket share price flops as Rightmove complaints rise

OnTheMarket’s share price slumped to an all-time low just before the end of trading last week.

The price fell to 69.0p during trading on Friday, down 3.5 per cent from the day’s opening figure and the lowest recorded by the share.

It’s been a torrid recent period for the portal, which launched on the London Stock Exchange in February 2018 at 165.0p, or almost 2.4 times its current level. 

Its highest share price this year was back in February when its closing price one day was 138.5p, although even that well below its launch price; since May it has struggled to stay above 100.0p and since mid-September its direction of travel has been edging downwards. 

Its market capitalisation is now only £46.34m. 

OnTheMarket’s biggest share price jolt in recent times was in September when it closed around 10 per cent down after admitting in an unscheduled trading statement that “market conditions” meant the rate of conversion of agent members from free or discounted deals to full-price deals had been slower than expected.

As a result OTM admitted that it had introduced shorter cheaper contracts and that it would take until early 2022 - a year longer than originally anticipated - before it would enjoy what it called “significant profitability and cash generation.”

Over the summer it was revealed that Knight Frank would list some London properties for sale and rent on Zoopla; that meant that of the original agencies creating Agents Mutual six years ago, only Savills was holding out and listing on just two portals - an original objective of the OnTheMarket.

More recently OnTheMarket has been at the centre of controversies over its use of solicitors to chase a number of agents who, according to the portal, own subscriptions dating back a number of years; however, some agents say they terminated upon hearing of others who were offered lower cost or free subscriptions.

In contrast to OnTheMarket, Rightmove’s share price has followed a broadly upwards direction this year; it was trading at 439.0p on January 2 2019, and on Friday November 8 it closed at over 590.0p.

However, Rightmove was the subject of strident criticism on social media at the end of last week and over the weekend, as a result of recent fee increases.

Ric Pickford of Snapes estate agency in the Stockport area went on to Twitter to say that he had suffered a 30 per cent increase in branch membership fee. “Who in the world can protect High Street businesses over this?” he asked.

Smile Please, an anonymous agent well known for posting on industry websites, said on Twitter: “Robbing bastards. Rightmove hitting us with an 11 per cent increase despite market slowing down and agents’ fees eating lower and tenant fee ban. They will get their day like the newspapers did.”

Over the weekend a Rightmove spokesperson told us: “There are three membership packages that an agent on Rightmove can choose from: Essential, Enhanced and Optimiser. Each package puts an agent’s brand and properties in front of the UK’s biggest home-hunting audience and gives them access to our market intelligence reports including our newly revamped Best Price Guide, and Rightmove’s training through the Rightmove hub.

“We work with agents to create tailored packages to best suit their business ambitions and the price of the package reflects the level of exposure that an agent gets on Rightmove. We continue to innovate and improve our platforms for agents and home-hunters, with our developers making 900 changes to the Rightmove website over the course of 2019.”

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