OnTheMarket says it will not increase listing charges in 2020 for any agents currently paying full fees, while agencies which list on only one other portal will get a discount.
The challenger portal - which has not produced any new agency membership figures for some months - is currently concentrating efforts on converting recent members on discounted or zero fees into full standard tariff contracted status.
It says it’s making the move because agents are curry facing “considerable headwinds” - a possible No Deal Brexit and a possible recession: lower than usual transaction volumes; reduced lettings fee income; and continuing procrastination by buyers and sellers.
It claims that its pricing pledge means agents who entered a five year listing agreement in February 2018 will enjoy a price freeze for their listings fees in 2020 rather than being charged an increase of up to five per cent as allowed for within the agreement.
In addition, those agents on that agreement who currently enjoy a 10 per cent discount for choosing to observe the One Other Portal rule can continue to do so for a further year.
Agents on that agreement who revert to operating with One Other Portal before the end of January 2020 will also be eligible for the 10 per cent discount for the year.
For agents on their original Gold and Silver agreements, the Pricing Pledge means they can roll into a new contract for a one, three or five year term with no increase in 2020 if they choose to continue to advertise on a maximum of one other competing portal.
OTM chief executive Ian Springett - who a year ago shifted his main criticisms from Zoopla to Rightmove - continues his sniping at the number one portal in his price freeze announcement.
He says: “It will be interesting to see whether or not Rightmove follows our lead on this or chooses to continue imposing double-digit percentage fee increases on the path to its stated objective of average fees per advertiser of £2,500 per month.
“We believe the latter course would be unjustified in any market conditions given that Rightmove’s monthly leads per advertiser have fallen inexorably from a high of 210 in 2015 to 168 in H1 2019.
And he continues: “Agents may remember how Rightmove behaved in the difficult years following the 2008 banking crash. UK annual housing transactions fell 44 per cent from over 1.6m in 2007 to 0.9m in 2008 and did not begin to recover until 2012.
“Between 2009 and 2012, Rightmove increased its average fees per advertiser by 72 per cent taking its profit margin from 63 per cent to 73 per cent in the process. In any event, OnTheMarket is continuing on its own path to becoming a market-leading alternative to Rightmove, delivering fair prices to advertisers and making other portals compete for agents’ business rather than simply dictating terms to them.”