Zoopla has upped the stakes in the war between rival websites with two major claims which implicitly challenge both Rightmove and OnTheMarket.
Firstly it claims that the two new fee structures introduced three months ago were “the most generous by any portal globally” and, secondly, it says the new charges have saved agents £30m since they were introduced in March.
It says the new payment plans saw 400 new branches joining Zoopla in the past 10 weeks; despite the 50-day closure of the market, over 90 per cent of those branches have signed up to a long-term partnership of at least 17 months with Zoopla.
The claims represent the latest volley in an acrimonious war between Rightmove, Zoopla and OnTheMarket: the latter is expected to release information later today on how many branches it has converted from discounted and free deals to full-tariff payment plans.
Zoopla says that since the housing market re-opened for business in mid-May it has provided over two million applicant, valuation and phone leads to its agent partners. This represents a lead every 1.1 seconds being sent to agents, it says.
Last week, total sessions on Zoopla were up over 58 per cent compared to the week before lockdown ended. Also last week, Zoopla enjoyed its busiest day of the year to date - on June 6 visitors spent nearly 207,000 hours spent searching the site.
The portal claims its database of potential buyers, renters and sellers is growing by five per cent week on week while email engagement is up 13 per cent compared to the period before the pandemic.
“All of this means more home hunters are engaging with Zoopla and, in turn, its agent partners” says the company in a statement.
“It is rewarding to see our significant investment in the agent community repaid with the overwhelming majority signing long-term partnerships with Zoopla. This means we can build together and plan for when the market and wider economy returns to normal, and underlines Zoopla’s position as the scaleable, established and well-funded agent focused portal” says Charlie Bryant, Zoopla’s chief executive.
“We’ve been the leading source of insight, research and analysis … and look forward to working with both agents and consumers to capitalise on the market reopening and helping them ensure they can reach their goals in the months and years to come” he adds.
Since returning to private ownership two years ago, after a purchase by a group led by global private equity firm Silver Lake, Zoopla has taken an increasingly aggressive stance against rival portals.