Rightmove’s half year figures this morning continue to show strong growth in profits and revenue - but there are the first signs of declining membership.
Overall membership numbers were down 1.0 per cent since the start of the year, with agencies down 3.0 per cent - those who de-listed were described by Rightmove this morning as “low-stock agency branches.”
The number of agency branches was 16,768 at the end of June, compared with 17,328 at the start of the year.
However, the portal says the agency number decline was offset by new homes developers who are listing.
The all-important average revenue per advertiser - the key measurement for portals - “grew more strongly than anticipated” says the agency.
Monthly ARPA overall is £1,077 per listings branch, including new homes; ARPA per agency branch is £1,023 per month. Both are record highs for the portal.
Visitor growth continued with hits up 2.0 per cent over this time in 2018 with an average of almost 141m visits per month.
Its revenue for the six months to the end of June was £143.9m, up from £131.1m in the same period last year. Operating profit stood at £108.2m, up from £98.2m.
The portal has also acquired tenancy referencing company Van Mildert; the acquisition is subject to routine Financial Conduct Authority approval and should be confirmed in October.
“A 4.6 per cent drop in transactions compared to 2018 has put pressure on some low-stock agency branches and created opportunity for others. We’re focused on helping all our customers succeed by delivering the most significant and effective exposure for their properties and brands to compete to win home sale instructions and also by being the largest source of high quality leads” says Rightmove chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson in this morning’s trading statement.
“We’ve seen strong adoption of our new digital solutions and existing packages by new homes developers and agents as they recognise the value of the UK’s largest property audience and Rightmove’s unique data insight.
“We’re looking forward to welcoming Van Mildert, a highly respected tenant referencing company, to the Rightmove family which will augment our Rightmove Tenant Passport in our quest to make renting a property faster, easier and more efficient for tenants, landlords, and agents alike.”
Meanwhile OnTheMarket this morning has issued another of its testimonials from member agents - this time ones that have been off Rightmove for the past six months.
It claims some agents say they are now getting more in terms of quality leads for less money, while others suggest the lettings fee ban will force more agents to come away from Rightmove.
It quotes agents from Surrey agency Elizabeth Scott, from Lime Tree Lettings and Sales in Kettering, Rees Richards in Swansea, Hayes Residential Lettings in Doncaster, Rentigo in Essex and the Acorn Group, a 36-office firm in London and Kent which has joined OTM but still lists with Rightmove.