Major UK online property portals recorded a year-to-year website traffic growth of 19 per cent from 2008. Despite the sluggish housing market, UK property portal traffic seems to be on the up.
Digital Property Group
With websites like Primelocation, Findanewhome, Findaproperty, and Homesandproperty, Digital Property Group (owned by General Trust and Daily Mail), is in second place in the UK online property portal market and is one of the last groups of websites backed by traditional media company.
Alex Chesterman, new owner of Zoopla which in itself owns Guardian Media Group and News International is trying a new business model. The company is backed by venture capital, and their plans is to offer a dual-pricing model: agents will be given the choice of either a subscription or payment per lead.
Mr. Chesterman said: “It is an interesting space as there is still the move from offline to online as it is the most efficient way to attract customers.”
He thinks chances are highly likely that Zoopla will become an industry leader with its revolutionary concept of giving home owners a quote on their property.
Many competing websites offer different business models of which most are using subscriptions themselves.
Globrix’s chief executive, Daniel Lee said: free-to-list was the best way to compete, pointing to other countries where a single dominant subscription-based website sits alongside a free rival. “Most agents won’t pay for more than two websites,” he added.
Rightmove which is the leading property portal in the UK is positive about the future growth. A recent statement put out by the company stated: there was a recent 4% fall in operating profits to £19.9 million and revenue drop by 11% to £33.6 million. This was attributed by the company to the number of agents that left the industry in 2008.
On the upside, costs were down 19% from 2008 at £13.7 million, and there was no reductions in marketing spend or investment in the website.
Another positive sign was the increase in page impressions on rightmove.co.uk by 3% on 2008 figures to 3.2 billion. The number of advertisers fell by 13% to 16,874 year-on-year, but the company says it was actually up 1% in the six month period since 31 December 2008.
All in all the UK property portal sector is surely showing promising signs for the months ahead. Time alone will tell who comes out tops.
Photo credits: The FT