New agent-owned portal moves step closer to ‘implementation’
With more than 500 estate agents now on board and over £6 million already pledged to create their own online presence, Agents’ Mutual claims to finally be ready to take on the property website market leaders, Zoopla and Rightmove, and challenge what the collaborative group has described as an “anti-competitive duopoly”.
Indeed, Agents’ Mutual has already confirmed this week that it has already “moved to implementation” to create a major new agent-owned and controlled UK property portal after raising initial funding through its “Gold membership” scheme, giving the company annualised listing income of at least £7 million for its first 5 years.
“The first round of agent funding has exceeded our most bullish expectations,” said Board Director Noel Flint of Knight Frank. “Agents are clearly attracted by the proposition of an agent-owned and controlled, property portal, which can concentrate on the consumer, cost control for the agents and the quality of property presentation rather than on the demands of external shareholders.”
The concept of agents owning and supporting portals in this way is not new. Rightmove and Primelocation both entered the market in similar fashion with exclusive listing agreements, with Rightmove, a one-stop shop for property hunters with tens of thousands of property listings available to trawl through, going on to become one of Britain’s most popular websites.
But despite the busy marketplace, Board Director, Paul Masters of Kinleigh Folkard & Hayward, believes that Agents’ Mutual, which will be mutually-owned by all the agents listing on its portal, is now ripe for success.
Masters commented, “The board of Agents’ Mutual believes it can match the scale and reach of the market leader in three years if the thousands of independent agents who currently pay high and rapidly-increasing fees to the existing portals throw their support behind a company which exists to provide them with control over their portal costs and over their property listings.”
Agents’ Mutual plan to initially charge £400 per estate agency office for listings for the first five-year period, before reducing the price to around £250 per office from 2019 or 2020.
Interestingly, Agents’ Mutual requires members to back it properly by only using one other major portal.
“Rightmove and Zoopla will lose an enormous number of listings,” said Martin Bikhit of Kay & Co. “Given that each member agent will only be able to list on one additional portal, this will certainly divide the market and should make these agents compete more effectively on price.”
Article courtesy of Property Drum