New figures released this morning from OnTheMarket claim its listing inventory bis now over 80 per cent of the size of Zoopla and 60 per cent of Rightmove.
In addition, traffic to its portal in January exceeded 23.5 million visits - as measured by Google analytics - which it says is a new monthly record.
And OTM says that the Rightmove and Zoopla inventories include substantial numbers of new homes - “a market segment which OnTheMarket is yet to focus on.”
In another trading statement this morning - its second in as many days - it says the increase in listings reflects “the sustained rapid growth in the number of estate and lettings agent branches contracted to list.”
Yesterday the portal revealed that at January 31 it had over 12,500 contracted branches compared with 5,500 in February 2018 - the month when it listed on the Alternative Investment Market, a junior market of the London Stock Exchange.
“The growth in both property stock and visits has combined to produce record levels of leads generated for OnTheMarket's estate and lettings agent customers. In January 2019, OnTheMarket delivered more than seven times as many phone and email leads as in February 2018” says this morning’s latest statement.
“Consumer engagement with OnTheMarket is further evidenced by the number of active property alerts now operating, which has reached 1.5 million.”
However, the statement also admits that while OTM’s branch base when it floated on the stock exchange “was almost entirely on paying contracts” - the majority of which were long-term and at full-tariff - the growth in the base since floating “has been predominantly from offering free listings under short-term introductory trial offers, with a view to conversion to full-tariff contracts when the value of the portal has been demonstrated.”
The company says that over the coming months, it will seek “to complete the conversion process using a range of offers which will, for selected agents, include long-term agreements which will be accompanied by share issuance.”
At the time of floating, OTM had authority to issue 36,363,636 agent recruitment shares.
“Such equity issuance alongside long-term listing agreements enables agents to support the only major agent-backed portal with a view to creating a fairly-priced alternative to Rightmove and Zoopla and to share in any increase in the value of the Company” says this morning’s statement.
Ian Springett, OTM’s chief executive, says: "In less than a year since our IPO we have significantly reduced the gap in property listings between our portal and Rightmove and Zoopla and have dramatically increased the number of visits made to it.
“These achievements have produced strong network effects, manifested by the very substantial numbers of leads we are now delivering to our agent customers.
“Our strategy to grow rapidly the scale of the portal is working and these latest milestones indicate that attracting more property-seekers to view more properties, many of which are listed with us on a New & exclusive basis, is a recipe for generating more value to agents.
“That value is not just in the direct advertising return we provide but also in creating much needed competition in a market previously dominated by just two large portal groups."