OnTheMarket plc (AIM: OTMP), the agent-backed company which operates the OnTheMarket.com property portal, recently announced that traffic to its portal in January exceeded 23.5 million visits*, a new monthly record. Driven by investment in heavyweight national multi-channel advertising, the portal attracted over 4 times the number of visits compared with February 2018, the month of the Company's admission to AIM.
As at 31 January 2019, OnTheMarket.com displayed over 600,000 UK residential property listings. The Company's UK property stock is already over 80% of Zoopla's and approximately 60% of Rightmove's1. This increase in coverage reflects the sustained rapid growth in the number of estate and lettings agent branches contracted to list at OnTheMarket.com since Admission: over 12,500 contracted branches as at 31 January 2019, compared with 5,500 in February 2018.
The growth in both property stock and visits has combined to produce record levels of leads generated for OnTheMarket's estate and lettings agent customers. In January 2019, OnTheMarket delivered more than 7 times as many phone and email leads as in February 2018.
Consumer engagement with OnTheMarket is further evidenced by the number of active property alerts now operating, which has reached 1.5 million.
OnTheMarket's agency branch base at Admission was almost entirely on paying contracts, the majority of which were long-term and at full-tariff. The growth in the base since Admission has been predominantly from offering free listings under short-term introductory trial offers, with a view to conversion to full-tariff contracts when the value of the portal has been demonstrated.
Over the coming months, the Company will seek to complete the conversion process using a range of offers which will, for selected agents, include long-term agreements which will be accompanied by share issuance. As at Admission, the Company had authority to issue 36,363,636 agent recruitment shares. Such equity issuance alongside long-term listing agreements enables agents to support the only major agent-backed portal with a view to creating a fairly-priced alternative to Rightmove and Zoopla and to share in any increase in the value of the Company.
Ian Springett, Chief Executive Officer of OnTheMarket, said: "In less than a year since our IPO we have significantly reduced the gap in property listings between our portal and Rightmove and Zoopla and have dramatically increased the number of visits made to it. These achievements have produced strong network effects, manifested by the very substantial numbers of leads we are now delivering to our agent customers.
Our strategy to grow rapidly the scale of the portal is working and these latest milestones indicate that attracting more property-seekers to view more properties, many of which are listed with us on a New & exclusive basis, is a recipe for generating more value to agents. That value is not just in the direct advertising return we provide but also in creating much needed competition in a market previously dominated by just two large portal groups."
*Visits comprise individual sessions on OnTheMarket.com's web based portal or mobile applications by users for the period indicated as measured by Google Analytics. Data for leads generated is reported from the Company's operating systems.
1As at 31 January 2019, Zoopla stated on its website that it was listing 518,244 UK residential sales properties and 221,021 UK residential lettings properties, totalling 739,265 properties.
Rightmove, in its 2017 Annual Report, stated that it had "1 million UK residential properties".
The figures for both Zoopla and Rightmove include substantial numbers of direct listings from new homes developers, a market segment which OnTheMarket is yet to focus on.