Last week, a large audience of estate agents in Surrey met to discuss the rising cost of advertising properties on the major property portals. Hit with increases in excess of 10%, the agents, who are all members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), feel that these rises do not reflect the current stagnant state of the UK housing market.
The ire of the agents was directed at Rightmove and The Digital Property Group (DPG), which runs the Prime Location, Find A Property and Globrix portals. They feel that these companies are taking advantage of their market strength to increase their rates by much more than inflation.
Chairman James Wyatt said: "This meeting was held at the members request as double digit price inflation from the portals is not sustainable in the long term. NAEA members are looking at the alternatives."
Another topic that provoked a strong reaction was the merger between DPG and another major property portal, Zoopla. "We are watching closely," said Wyatt. "The merger is meant to be a big win for consumers and advertisers - the estate agents - but we see this as an opportunity for DPG to increase their prices to Rightmove's levels and for those two portals to effectively create a duopoly. Historically, duopolies tend to lead to market manipulation.
Daniel Hill, finance director of whathouse.co.uk, says: "At whathouse.co.uk, we offer very competitive rates to housebuilders and new homes agents and being exclusively focused on new homes delivers highly targeted leads to our clients. Not to mention our USP of top-quality daily editorial news and features and a range of other video and content rich material."