Have you heard about onthemarket.com ?

Another property portal?

OnTheMarket, a new property website due to launch on January 26th, is aiming to challenge the market-leading position of the two biggest portals, Rightmove and Zoopla. Some 4,000 offices have already registered their interest in OnTheMarket, with a large proportion of these having formally committed themselves to advertising their clients’ properties on it.

The background to this move is all to do with industry politics. In recent years, many agents have become increasingly resentful of the two main portals, who are seen as having exploited their near-monopoly of the online property market to increase their charges exponentially. This resentment was based on the not-unreasonable view that neither Rightmove nor Zoopla could exist without the properties that agents chose to advertise on them.

Eventually, a group of agents decided that enough was enough, and hit on the idea of creating a property portal which would enable them to control their own online marketing costs. This concept has now been rolled out to the entire estate agency community – with the exception of purely online agents, who do not offer the full estate agency service as expected by the majority of clients. As one of the conditions of joining OnTheMarket, members must commit to dropping at least one of the existing market leaders -- many agents would probably wish to drop both.

What, if anything, does this mean for you, the general public?

Not necessarily a great deal -- other than the obvious fact that from January, house-hunters wanting to research the entire market will have to look on three portals rather than the current two main ones. For sellers, meanwhile, the move has perhaps even more significance as, if they are not working with their local agent, their property cannot be launched onto onthemarket.com which will carry all properties marketed by those who have joined. For us local agents, it should offer more control and ability to market our property on portals the way we want and control costs; an essential part of running a business.

In Brighton and Hove, the word on the street is that over 80% of agents are committing to upload to onthemarket.com...time will tell.

We are committing to it and expect it to be a real boon to our clients.

Paul Bonett F.N.A.E.A. M.A.R.L.A.