After speculation that the portal was cynically holding back an announcement to maintain agent numbers, Rightmove has just announced that it will extend the discount period given to agents in the wake of the British lockdown measures.
In a statement to the London stock market published a couple of hours ago, Rightmove said:
“Despite the positive consumer reaction to the re-opening of the housing market, it takes three months on average for housing transactions to complete which impacts the cash flows of our agents. It will also take time for agents to build a pipeline of vendors and new sales instructions. Given this, we have today communicated our continued support to our Agency customers in England by offering a 60% discount for August and 40% for September.”
The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish markets are all behind England in terms of reopening, a factor Rightmove is taking into account as well:
“we will continue to support customers in these markets with a 75% discount for August and 60% for September”
The Rightmove statement went on to extoll the virtues of other ways in which it has aimed to help agencies through the trying times since March:
“ Making a new tool available to all customers to enable them to securely deliver online viewing videos to home hunters in line with government advice. The integrated tool also offers usage reporting and functionality to make the process of responding to home hunter enquiries quicker and more efficient for agents;
· Bespoke local market data to help agents target resources most efficiently and also to use with home buyers and sellers;
· Consumer webinars and an accompanying consumer advice hub giving practical tips on home hunting within the government guidelines. This hub has been accessed over 400,000 times since the beginning of April. Our weekly email update is read by an average of 800,000 home hunters every week; and
· A series of 40 Covid-19 related advice webinars for agents, which have been attended by over 30,000 property professionals from over 5,000 branches.”
The news will come as a huge relief to many cash strapped smaller agencies many of whom have come together under the banner of the SayNoToRightmove campaign to lobby for fairer prices from the portal giant. The announcement has dispelled the accusation of cynicism but it is unlikely to placate the hardcore of agents pushing for the long term sustainability of pricing from Rightmove. The ball had been well and truly in Rightmove’s court for some time, it seems it has now been returned and we can expect a statement from the SayNoToRightmove campaign shortly.