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Bob North

July/August 2009

Little change in the major portal statistics

By BOB NORTH

THE latest figures in our survey of the major property portals continue to reflect the general trend of recent months.

Numbers of properties for sale are down on a year ago and lettings numbers are up BUT the change is starting to reverse and lettings numbers are down on a few months ago and properties for sale are creeping up.

Overall, homes for sale are up some 1.5 per cent and lettings properties down three per cent with the three major groups all reflecting much the same trend.

It is more difficult to compare all the sites with 2008 since the amalgamations which formed the Digital Property Group and The Propertyfinder Group, but Rightmove shows a 25 per cent reduction in homes for sale year on year and an increase of 41 per cent in lettings over the same period. Overall numbers are down some 12 per cent.

Rightmove continues to dominate the market with some 712,000 homes for sale compared with DPG at 408,000 and PFG at 210,635 but those are significantly less than 2008 when Rightmove had 950,000 homes on the market.

Traffic is also down year on year but since the beginning of the year there are some signs of improvement.

The number of full particulars viewed on Rightmove is up as are their user sessions and telephone enquiries to agents.

E-mail enquiries to agents are up from DPG and telephone enquiries from PFG are stable.

Think Property and Fish4, both contenders last year, have diminished to the extent that they are hardly in the same league so it is now the ‘big three’ of the subscription portals as far as the table is concerned and, as I write this, there is some uncertainty about the future of Propertyfinder.

Hopefully for agents they will remain in competition in the subscription field.

The other players — Globrix and Property Index — are still active and providing an alternative.

But one has to wonder about their ability to generate sufficient revenue to defray their expenses and how long the News International media giant will continue to support Globrix.
Nestoria continue to provide a valuable service to the portal sites and to consumers.

• 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.