"Agents are now bit-part players in their own industry. In an opinion piece in Nov-2019, the financial editor at The Times, Peter Hosking,summed it up thus, “It is the estate agents own fault that they are not wallowing in this [Rightmove’s massive Return On Invested Capital] themselves. Rightmove was started up by corporate agents who sold their holdings when the company floated. Had they held on, they would have made a further capital gain of 18x and £1bn of dividends […] What rankles agents now is that they do all the work, while the portals get a disproportionately large chunk of income simply for letting buyers scroll through their homes”." - Jefferies (12/2019)
"Commentators across the spectrum have been moaning about Rightmove for years; there’s nothing new in that. ... the economic utility of Rightmove’s portal has finally been exposed by another housing downturn (post Brexit; the first was the Global Financial Crisis in 2008). Conditions are ripe for market failure to drive the most uncommon of occurrences, reverse network effects. But it is going to take collective action by agents, something which is somewhat of a prisoner’s dilemma given the average agent stays on Rightmove, not because it’s critical to finding a buyer for a property it is marketing, but because it is seen as critical to winning the instruction from the vendor in the first place. This is a self-created psychological handcuffs that can only be broken by collective action." - Jefferies (12/2019)
Long term lock-in contracts, marketing restrictions and equity inducements have failed to gain industry wide support.
De-mutualised, floated on AIM, had five years to overtake Zoopla and failed.
Confused pricing model - abandoned promises that OTMv1 members would never pay more than new members.
Unsustainable cash burn meaning further rounds of investor fund raising, share dilution & increased external shareholder control.
Offers nothing new, chronically short of the funding needed to create a viable challenge & obsolete business model for a member organisation - Rightmove 3.0.
"New entrants like PropertyMutual have exactly the construct needed to return the industry back to a sustainable agency-backed model. But the challenge is to drive collective action: we think the cycle could be about to do just that." - Jefferies (12/2019)
"It is really only the agent’s fear of losing an instruction from not being on Rightmove that holds back the churn - the greatest threat to Rightmove is therefore collective action across the estate agency industry to communally break free of what has been described as “an abusive relationship”. Unless PropertyMutual rapidly can drive such groupthink, this isn’t imminently likely." - Jefferies (12/2019)
PropertyMutual - "an incredibly disruptive blueprint that would take the agency-portal relationship all the way back to its pure-play mutual roots" - Jefferies (12/2019)
PropertyMutual is legally structured to be never-for-sale in order to be a partner run and funded digital marketing business for property professionals and developers. We are the only portal where property professionals and developers can confidently subscribe, in the certain knowledge that we will never sell out, float on the stock market or change our business structure. Such practices have pushed up property marketing prices to the detriment of our partners and their clients, and for the sole benefit of portal founders and shareholders.
‘To be recognised as the ethical and equitable mutual property portal, operating in the best interests of our partners and consumers, setting and enforcing professional standards of property listing, and delivering innovative property related services for all’.
PropertyMutual believes that the UK consumer, whether house hunting for purchase, rental or sharing, is either unaware of, or indifferent to, the property industry debate about a corporate duopoly dominating the industry and imposing upwards-only pricing on property professionals.
The British public will not be told where they can and cannot market their own property. Nor do they want to be made to go to a multitude of different property portals, some allowing only High Street Agents and excluding online agents, some allowing developers and others excluding them. The British consumer expects to be supplied with what it wants, namely -
This means that a property portal must be focused primarily on the needs of the consumer, whilst providing a trustworthy, cost effective and permanent property marketing partner for its partners. These professionals partners have to be unafraid of competing on their own merits in a free market and open portal in the 21st century.
It is estimated that there are at least 15-20,000 estate and letting agents in the UK regularly listing property with the big two portals. This does not include property developers, or commercial and agricultural agents. The maths is simple and transparent. Charging "at cost" subscriptions will still provide us with a £multi-million marketing and operational budget. We have no loans or interest to repay, no IT start up costs and no property portal to build from scratch.
Placed alongside the marketing budgets of the duopoly our ambitions are lofty but we believe the industry is crying out for a credible mutual guaranteeing that it is never-for-sale. With a motivated and committed partnership advertising PropertyMutual in their windows on the High Street, and through word of mouth and targeted media advertising, we firmly believe there is sufficient scope to grow PropertyMutual as the only trustworthy, transparent, and not-for-profit property portal so desperately needed by both the consumer and property professionals.