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TODAY'S OTHER NEWS

Rightmove and OnTheMarket extend cut-price fees deals

Rightmove and OnTheMarket have announced that they are extending their cut-price fees deals, introduced because of Coronavirus.

This morning Rightmove says: "We have today communicated our continued support to our Agency customers in England by offering a 60 per cent discount for August and 40 per cent for September. The property market in Wales started to reopen on 22 June and Scotland is set to reopen on 29 June and we will continue to support customers in these markets with a 75 per cent discount for August and 60 per cent for September."

For most of the UK, this offer rows back from the scale of the original Rightmove reduction, which took the form of a 75 per cent discount for all customers between April and July.

The number one portal says that on top of this latest reduction, it has helped agents through a new tool to allow them to securely deliver online viewing videos, additional local market data for targeting buyers and sellers, and webinars.

Rightmove says it has lost few member agents despite the virus crisis and the extensive campaign against it by some opponents.

"Since the beginning of the year we have seen a decline in our membership base, principally from lower stock agency customers experiencing cash flow issues, exacerbated by the severe financial shock of the Covid-19 pandemic, and a reduction in the stock-based-branch-equivalent-measure of hybrid agents. Overall membership at May 31 of 19,054 is down 3.8 per cent since the end of 2019. This decline is made up of 620 fewer agency branches, together with a reduction of 135 New Homes developments."

It continues: "Traditional agents have thus far generally proven to be resilient, with the number of traditional agency members only falling by around two per cent since the start of the year. Of the 620 fewer agency branches just over half are traditional agency branches with the balance being stock-based virtual branches from hybrid agencies."

Meanwhile OnTheMarket, in a separate statement, says its original cut-price deal - due to expire in late July - has been extended until September 25.

The discount will remain at 33 per cent for the first month and will be 20 per cent for the second month but will only be given to those OnTheMarket agent customers who are paying on full-tariff listing agreements.

The portal says that in the past fortnight, and since the partial relaxation of the virus restrictions, OnTheMarket has seen "new records" for total leads delivered to advertisers. 

Over 430,000 leads were delivered in the week commencing June 8 and over 440,000 in the week commencing June 15. 

Visits were around six million in each week, an increase of over 280 per cent on the weekly low point during lockdown and over 20 per cent up on the first week in March this year, before the impact of the lockdown on the property market. 

"This has been achieved despite a significant reduction in marketing spend since the lockdown commenced on March 23" the portal claims.

OTM says that while its revenues will be impacted in the short term by the extended fees deal, it will continue a policy to minimise costs; as of May 31 it had net cash of £8.8m and, excluding deferred creditor payments of £2.3m, no borrowings.

Clive Beattie, acting chief executive of the portal and a candidate for the permanent position, says in a statement this morning: "Whilst we have seen record levels of leads in recent weeks, which is a testament to the strong engagement OnTheMarket has with consumers who are currently active in the property market, we believe agents continue to face challenges and that offering this discount extension package will assist them as they continue to restart operations.

"At the same time, we also need to begin increasing our own levels of service support and advertising on behalf of our customers as their markets reopen. The extended discounts allow us to support customers alongside a gradual increase in these activities whilst conserving our cash."

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