Many estate and letting agents are receiving more leads through OnTheMarket than through Rightmove, the challenger portal claims - and it warns that it's almost crunch time for agents wanting to consider reducing portal costs.
In a statement giving testimonials from five OTM member agencies, the portal says this provides evidence that its “strategy of building network effects” is working - with more agents displaying more properties and so attracting more visits, thus generating more value to shareholders and customers in the form of more leads.
Ian Springett, chief executive of OTM, says in a statement accompanying the testimonials that the OTM opportunity comes at a time when agents are facing renewed cost pressures in the form of reduced sales because of a muted market, and the imminent ban on lettings fees on tenants.
“We believe we are now coming to a crunch point for agents who are seriously considering their options around portal costs” he claims.
“Rightmove’s latest full year results for 2018 showed another year in which [it] generated increases in revenue, profits and profit margin by hiking its Average Revenue per Advertiser by a further £83 to break through the £1,000 per month barrier for the first time” says Springett.
“It also generated fewer leads for its property advertiser customers which means that for every £100 spent by Rightmove’s property advertiser customers, it generated an average of 17 leads. This is a reduction of 39 per cent compared with 2015, when every £100 generated an average of 28 leads” he adds.
He goes on to describe OnTheMarket as “a strategic cost reduction opportunity for thousands and thousands of agents.”
He adds: “Our listing fees are typically one quarter of Rightmove’s charges - it currently has a 75 per cent profit margin – so there is scope to build a profitable business for shareholders while providing cost reductions for agents and a first-class search experience for property-hunters. Our progress to date and the encouraging support for an agent-backed portal give us confidence that we can continue to build on this early growth to develop a market-leading portal.”
Springett says the portal has ramped up marketing and in January this year delivered seven times the number of leads compared with February 2018.
The five testimonials includes one from Terry Holmes, director of the 17 branch Beresfords sales and lettings operating in Essex, who says that last month his firm’s lettings email leads from OnTheMarket “eclipsed those from Rightmove.”
Chris Anderson, directors of Anderson’s - a single-office firm in Leicester - says in a week earlier this month it received 59 per cent of its email leads from OnTheMarket and 37 per cent from Rightmove.
Other testimonials came from Philip Norgan, sales and lettings manager at Martin Kemps in Buckinghamshire; from Mark Olsen of Purbeck Property, a sales and lettings firm in Wareham; and from David Pickering, director at CCL Property in Moray, Scotland.