A new property listing website will launch next year with the aim of challenging the two market leaders, Rightmove and Zoopla. The new portal will be launched in 2014 by Agents’ Mutual, a partnership of six large London estate agents, who believe the fees they pay to advertise on Rightmove and Zoopla are too high.
The site will be funded by a pot of £3.6m, raised from 1,000 estate agent offices across the UK. The figure was raised three months ahead of schedule, suggesting a great appetite to see the current duopoly challenged.
Agents’ Mutual aims to increase the number of participating offices and estate agents to 10,000 over the next five years.
Lower listing prices and a share of the business are two key reasons why so many agents have supported the idea. The fact that the property market is becoming more buoyant is another reason why the new website is thought to be feasible. And the market may enjoy another surge very soon, since the next phase of the government’s Help to Buy scheme has been brought forward by three months.
Connells, LSL Property Services and Countrywide – three of London’s largest agents – have not been won over by the idea, however, due to the fact they hold shares in Zoopla.
Over 55 per cent of Agents’ Mutual offices are located outside the Greater London area, and almost every independent agent in Scotland has signed up to the website.
Marketing the new website
Effective branding and marketing of the new site will need to be exceptional in order to challenge the positions of Rightmove and Zoopla in the search engines. TV, press and paid online advertising may go some way to making the new website – which has yet to be named – a household brand.
Rightmove and Zoopla will no doubt be familiar to many of our home, buy-to-let and unoccupied property insurance customers. Do you believe there is a need of third big name in online property listings? Let us know what you think.