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Bob North

May 2009

Rightmove still rule a changing roost

By BOB NORTH

THE portal comparison world has changed quite considerably over the last 12 months — mainly due to the consolidation of the Digital Property Group and the Property Finder network.

A year ago, individual figures were produced for Primelocation, Findaproperty, Hotproperty and Propertyfinder but no longer, so a year-on-year comparison becomes more difficult.

The one consistent site is Rightmove and, as always since the start of these comparative surveys, they are the largest property portal measured by both site traffic and property numbers.

Total property numbers in the latest survey period were marginally higher than at the same stage of 2008 but there is quite a significant change in the make up of the numbers.

Properties for sale are down by some 120,000 but homes for let are up by some 130,000 with some 326,000 available on the site.

Rental properties have gone from some 18 per cent of the total to over 31 per cent reflecting the changing shape of the market at the beginning of 2009.

The latest Comscore figures for top portals and selected others.

The latest Comscore figures for
top portals and selected others.
(Click the Image to view larger version)

Rightmove, as a site, still dominates the sector and although their user sessions are down by about 20 per cent year-on-year, responses to agents’ properties have actually increased thanks mainly to a rise in email enquiries sent to agents — over a million in January this year.

Rightmove’s total responses are some 1.8 million compared to Digital Property Group (DGP) at 1 million and the Property Finder Network (PFN) at some 850,000.

The cost per response of the main sites has changed over the year. Rightmove has reduced from some £4.70 to £3.00, Propertyfinder is much the same at £1.18 but DPG is very much dependent on the ‘value added’ price that the agent is charged — which ranges from £179 to £799 per office dependent on office type, turnover and location. DPG’s cost per response varies from £3 to very nearly £14.

One change in the charging stakes is thinkproperty.com who have stopped charging agents and now offer their service for free.

They have indicated that at some stage they may move to a cost-per-response model but in the meantime they are not under any pressure to charge and Think Property has certainly seen an increase in agent support but Comscore verifies that their traffic figures have decreased significantly since they reduced their Google ad spend.

The latest Comscore figures showing unique users in a month verify the lead that the top three portal groups now have.

The newcomers and aspirants are not really at the same level of traffic figures — Globrix and the much-publicised Property Index are some way off the pace in terms of unique visitors as measured by Comscore.

Property Live does not even feature as receiving any significant traffic.

All the latest statistics on portal activity in our regular comparison survey table >>

• Bob North is a business consultant and a member of estate agency specialists GCG Consulting. He specialises in applied technology, including website functionality and the introduction of IT systems and applications.

Contact him by e-mail bobn@gcgconsulting.co.uk or by phone on 07831 576073.