The leader of the Say No To Rightmove campaign says that agents are demanding that there is “no return to full tariffs” when the virus crisis ends and a normal market resumes.
Robert Sargent, chief executive of the Acorn Group, says his Say No To Rightmove campaign - which started only a month ago - is already backed by 1,500 agency owners representing some 2,500 offices. He expects that this will reach 3,000 offices within two weeks.
Sargent’s campaign appears to have been key in forcing the hand of Rightmove to scrap its unpopular deferred payment offer and instead agree a short-term 75 per cent fees reduction to help the industry through the Coronavirus crisis.
But that is by no means an answer to the wider problem says Sargent in a new video interview released to Estate Agent Today this morning. Instead, the campaign leader says the “tipping point” is coming in the near future for Rightmove and its competitors.
“The portal model as a whole has to change … The tipping point is in three to four months time when the discounts disappear, the government support for furloughing disappear - that’s going to bring this whole argument to a head” he tells industry analyst Chris Watkin in an update recorded yesterday afternoon.
“We’re already seeing Zoopla changing and OnTheMarket changing to whatever degree they can afford to at the moment” he believes, demanding that Rightmove falls in line too.
Sargent’s company has 36 branches across London and the south east and spends close to £500,000 annually on fees to Rightmove alone.
The interview - kindly given exclusively to EAT by Chris Watkin - is the clearest expression yet of the ultimate objectives of the campaign.
It comes just 48 hours after investment bank RBC Capital downgraded its rating of Rightmove saying: “We are concerned that this degree of [annual] price rises may not be sustained going forward, particularly in light of negative press coverage Rightmove continues to receive from disgruntled agents.”
The video (below) is a key 10-minute watch about one of the biggest issues in the industry right now.