Rightmove Defends Price Hike as Agent Claims "No Choice" But to Pay 17% Extra

June 7, 2023
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Rightmove certainly has a seat reserved at the top table of portals worldwide—if it isn't sat at its head already.

Yet despite agent disgruntlement seemingly across the board, its dominant position appears to be one of the safest globally:

And today Rightmove has defended a 17% price hike for a two-branch estate agency in the UK.

Property Industry Eye reported that Belong, a sales and lettings agency in Yorkshire, was sent an email detailing how its Rightmove subscription cost will increase as a consequence of new features and tools.

James White, managing director at Belong and a long-time subscriber to Rightmove, even suggesting that the fee hike is a 'farewell gift' from outgoing Rightmove CEO Peter Brooks Johnson:

"At a time when their clients are facing pressures in a much-reduced market, and with high general inflation of around 10% from their suppliers, estate agents on the core Essentials package, Rightmove’s standard package, are being hit with an almost 18% increase in annual fees, taking the basic package to £1,385 per month.

“This is obviously a last swipe of the hand from Peter Brooks Johnson, the outgoing CEO as a sad farewell from the man who oversaw the fiasco that was Rightmove’s response to the initial lockdown in 2020.

“The cash cow that is Rightmove keeps moving forwards with it’s outrageous annual increases, knowing that it has largely a monopoly on where the public look first for residential sales listings.”

A Rightmove spokesperson said:

“We’re having conversations with some agents where their memberships are due for renewal. We’re committed to providing agents with the best exposure for their brand and properties to the UK’s biggest home-moving audience, as well as the products and tools to help them win more vendors and landlords.

“Agents can choose which package and suite of tools is right for their business, and our account managers will work with them to make sure the package matches the level of brand visibility that they want to achieve on Rightmove.”

Rightmove has long been criticised by agents for its seemingly never-ending capacity to increase prices, the likes of which have made Rightmove one of the most powerful and profitable portals in the world.

The firm achieved record revenues in its FY22 results released in March, with revenue from agents up 10% YoY.

The average revenue per agent hit £1,314 per month, however, it came at a slight cost to membership with 178 fewer branches than 2021.

Rightmove's monopoly over the UK market partly informed the creation of the agent-owned portal OnTheMarket, while the hashtag #saynotorightmove received 3,000 agent signups after the portal's ill-conceived deferred payment package during the pandemic—a move that contributed to Rightmove share prices tumbling during the lockdown.

Nevertheless, the firm withstood this external pressure and if anything has strengthened its hold on the UK real estate industry — even going so far as now being an industry-recognized provider of agent training.

And if an agent wants to try and get away with not paying their monthly fees, good luck to them: Rightmove is set to introduce measures to identify non-paying agents after it emerged one agent went 15 years without paying!

June 7, 2023
Harvey is an experienced property journalist and copywriter. He has written about the property industry since 2015, starting at The Property Franchise Group in the UK, before moving to Spain to work for Spotahome. He has blogged for the private rented sector, ghostwritten for UK property experts and written case studies for franchise owners around the UK. Harvey joined Online Marketplaces as a News Editor in 2022.

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