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The Perfect Property Storm?




With over a million homes owners in the uk with mortgage difficulties, house prices slowing in the coming year , add to this ,economists advising building more housing, is not the solution , the weather is indeed ,brewing .

Phil Spencer, brand ambassador, for zoopla.co.uk


In the UK, the first port of call is searching property online, with the two major portals rightmove.co.uk , zoopla.co.uk and a tertiary portal made up, of mainly corporate estate agent chains, called onthemarket.com.



Google Trends, over 12 months, primelocation, is also part of ZPG also note onthemarket.com start in Feb2015 now having completed  7 months. 



After finding the property, there is contact with an agent,agency / broker, which normally means travelling down, to your local high street,to continuing negations.


A relatively new wave of disruptive tech, online agents (without a physical office, on the high street / down town store) have been, successfully growing in strength, over the last five years. They offer a fixed rate /price for selling your home ,rather than taking a commission , which can range, from 1 - 3.5 % , by only charging hundreds, home sellers, save thousands of pounds.


Currently online estate agents, have 8 percent of the market, which is growing growing exponentially annually, they list on the to two main portals, rightmove and zoopla with the exception of onthemarket, which does not allow them to list , and traditional online agents have also been told to list, using the two portal rule, , currently being monitored, by the Competition and Markets Authority

Zoopla and Rightmove have both ,successfully made the transition, from start up, to initial public offering .Both sites, have recently been affected,onthemarket.com two portal rule and by the Slower growth in China ,continuing stock market uncertainty, which poses a threat to global economic growth, with recent warnings, coming from the International Monetary Fund.


CEO Alex Chesterman, recently answered questions from estateagents in various magazines, putting them at ease ,about the portals future ambitions,from long standing dissatisfaction with fees levied on agents, by all portals, to more specific Zoopla-focussed queries, categorically denying it intends to carry direct listings, from individual sellers.


Onthemarket has made homebuyers search, looking for property a real headache .The online real estate agent business model, has also put direct pressure, on high street agents, to also reduce their fees.


Rightmove has the dominant share, of the UK, property portal market ,its head start, was setting up business, in 2000, by 2015 has gone on to garner it's brand, as a houshold name literally , not fogetting bedding in , seo links, for 15 years. Over the years, it has had several facelifts, with the inclusion of mapping and API inclusion,its share price, has steadily increased this year, though has also fallen this week . Nick McKittrick is the new CEO ,taking over from Ed Williams, who was also co founder , who recently retired ,to focus on, philanthropic pursuits.


Zoopla started in 2008, has also had refresh and through a number of clever aquisitions, adding innovation, heat maps mortagage calculators, also chosen by UK gov, as on of the property sites to champion and head , the right to buy scheme. The recent uswitch acquistion, a consumer site uSwitch.com ,is a UK-based price comparison service and switching website founded in 2000.


The site allows consumers to compare prices for a range of energy, personal finance, insurance and communications services. uSwitchforBusiness.com is uSwitch's energy price comparison and brokerage service for businesses.In 2007, The Times regarded uSwitch as one of the two (moneysavinexpert being the second) most established price comparison websites and highlighted it as being among the best money-saving websites for students .However, Rightmove, has yet to make, this type of aquisition, to scale up its business model, which heavily relies estate agent subscriptions, though has the equity, in "the current market".

State Side


Moving state side,recently in the year, at the annual Inman Connect event, @Rupert Murdoch NewsCorp (NC) owner and former ceo, (was quoted , "property portals in Europe, were currently over valued and the time was not right yet to buy one". REA Real Estate Australia, owned indirectly by News Corp (NC) via News Corp Australia, a subsidiary of News Corp.


International sites:Luxembourg | Italy | Germany | China | France


Partner sites:news.com.au | careerone.com.au | carsguide.com.au | foxsports.com.au | homeguru.com.au | realestate.co.nz | gohome.com.hk | squarefoot.com.hk | iproperty.com.myiproperty.com.ph | iproperty.com.sg | rumah123.com


NC intends expanding further globally, through it's acquisition on Realtor.com state side and Asia propertytiger.com based, in India.

realtor.com is also part on move inc which is now a subsidiary of News Corp

Move, Inc. Sites
realtor.com®
Move.com
Moving.com
Top Producer
TigerLead Solutions
ListHub
SocialBios
HomeFair
HomeInsight
New Homes
Relocation.com
Doorsteps.com
Seniorhousingnet.com
Mansion Global


DMGT still own, roughly 30 percent stake in Zoopla, having also recently acquired this year, Indian commercial real estate site propstack.com presently commonfloor.com, is the largest Indian, property portal. read more here.

Alleged rumours and the season, for acquisition ripening , should the share price of Zoopla, or Rightmove continue to fall, either with "the current situation", Zillow may well be looking at acquiring, either of the two, for expansion, into the European market, where US based Air BnB tech disruptor, is currently producing, most of its revenue.Europe wise the French site seloger.com and idealista.com (free listings) from Spain,may also be worth considering as they are the leaders , in these respctive country. REA / NC owns the Italian property site Casa.it, which is the market leader.


PR Savvy

There is alot UK portal owners, brokers. estate agents can learn in their approach ,from the US and engagement with their Cus
tomer base. @SpencerRoscoff Zillow.com CEO has consistent dynamic approach ,only adding to the Zillow brand appeal. Many brokers real estate agents, in the us, also don't have a physical office and network through friends and associates, thus saving on the ever increasing cost, in commercial rent.



In contrast zillow is the clear leader, in US real estate search, with profits up 37% in 3rd quarter results. Realtor has yet to make headway, traffic figures have yet to support newscorps recent acquisition. DMGT may offload their 30 % stock to NC, enabling ,Realtor to tap into the European market and NewsCorp,more UK media, which it is synonymous.The benefits to realtors estate agents would have enormous potential, allowing then all to have unprecedented, global reach.


For Zillow or Realtor entering the European market, would give a bump to traffic and beef up their advertising "online footprint" ( "their" advertising clients exposure has great potential) , in Europe ,online marketing spend is higher that the US

.You could go as far to say ,it would create a proxy media agency within itself. Demographically the advertising / monetising platforms could slide rule with far greater pin point accuracy ,for their entire /potential advertiser base.

Alex Chesterman recently stated, that he is committed to Zoopla

the acquisition of consumer site Uswitch , will allow more consumers savings in energy , finance and other products. Uswitch generates high volumes of leads for energy and communications firms, which Zoopla will gel into agency leads.

Rightmove is currently purely a subscription based model , to compete with zoopla in the future, it would have to merge with a similar consumer site , moneysavingexpert is the closest to uswitch. MSE founder and editor Martin Steven Lewis OBE, continues running the extremely popular and profitable site.


The UK onliners must be given entrepreneurial credit, Russel Quirk emoov.co.uk (currently crowdfunding), Sarah Beeny tepilo.com have given the consumer, considerable, lower costs, when selling their homes (which can only be welcomed for all),coupled with their fluid approach, in social media.

PurpleBricks.com also who recently had, ace city fund manager Neil Woodford, backing the enterprise with consideable capital, has gained traction and is looking at an initial public offering , soon. read more here

RightMove and Zoopla have never had, the will for their respective CEO's, directly to engage with the public consumer,albeit "the odd housing market trends comment" in the FT or the national daily's ,property section .Ok their engaging with the investor but , Roscoff goes beyond the call of duty and that's where, his appeal / strategy to the masses, to becoming one of America's best household brands,is firmly headed.

Rightmove RMV and Zoopla ZPLA,have a large diverse team ,showing transparency as listed companies.Alex Chesterman who seems like a nice guy, though not one of his PR photos, has a smile ,or standing under umbrellas, in rain does any good (however creative that Pr agency is, in the pouring rain), public perception goes a long way, [sort it out Alex]. I'm no fan of Rupert Murdoch, [though who does, have his admirers],has a twitter account!.Though Zoopla,redeems itself with Phil Spencer, as their brand ambassador, though they should use him, alot more, i.e. daily.Rightmove does not currently, have any real direct media engagement, with the general public.

Eye balls matter and we all know, more means, monetisation as an attractive, pull factor for the prospective investor, via apps tablets and desktop hits (adzuna needs eye balls too) related artlcles 1 & 2


It does make you wonder, when this storm, wlll make land fall, this article, has been written without ,malice intended.


Further Reading

Rogue landlords should face stronger sentencing tougher license conditions and potential blacklisting says LGA

How low can you go ? speech by Andy Haldane BoE Chief Economist



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