Estate agent-backed Rightmove rival On The Market sees losses widen

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Rightmove rival backed by estate agents On The Market sees losses widen as Brexit limbo makes sellers hold fire

  • On The Market’s  losses rose to £7.1m for the six months to 31 July 31  
  • Woes in the wider housing market have ‘undoubtedly’ slowed business, it said

On The Market saw half-year losses widen as it warned that estate agents listing their properties on its website were holding back from signing long-term contracts amid continued Brexit uncertainty.

The company, which is backed by thousands of estate agents, said that woes in the wider housing market had ‘undoubtedly’ slowed their business. 

However, it also said that the introduction of lower-cost, shorter contracts was proving more appealing to estate agents, which have been struggling as buyers and sellers stay put.  

On The Market warned that estate agents listing their properties on its website were holding back from signing long-term contracts amid continued Brexit uncertainty

On The Market warned that estate agents listing their properties on its website were holding back from signing long-term contracts amid continued Brexit uncertainty

The company, which had already warned on profits last month, said pre-tax losses widened to £7.1million for the six months to 31 July, against £5.7million a year earlier, but revenues rose 14 per cent to £8million.   

On The Market was launched in 2015 by a group of well-known estate agents, including Savills and Knight Frank, as a challenger to Zoopla and Rightmove. 

The company listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market in February last year. 

On the Market shares were down 2.1 per cent at 81.75p in morning trading on Thursday.       

‘The challenging backdrop of relatively weak and highly uncertain market conditions for agents has undoubtedly slowed our progress,’ said chief executive Ian Springett.

‘However, the ever-improving performance of the portal and the current level of take-up of both our long-term full-tariff contracts and our revised short-term offers provide grounds for optimism.’  

On The Market has been seeking to switch agents on free trial membership to paying contracts, but hit a stumbling block amid the current subdued property market conditions.

A survey of estate agents published today shows that the number of homes coming up for sale has fallen to the lowest level for three years, as a stand-off between would-be buyers and sellers takes hold.

Estate agents have complained that ‘endless wrangling’ over Brexit continues to hamper the housing market, as the number of properties on their books remains close to a record low.   

On The Market said it had signed up 1,308 estate agency branches on new paying contracts by the end of July, which had increased to 2,346 by the end of September.

It said the rate of sign-ups had accelerated since introducing shorter and lower-cost contracts.

The group had 12,622 agent offices listed on its books at the end of September, reflecting the recruitment of new agents, although this was partly offset by the removal of agent branches following the end of free trial periods.

 

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