US investment bank UBS has predicted that market-leading British portal Rightmove will lose as much as £53 million in revenue in the first half of 2020. The predicted shortfall is due in large part to the property portal’s discount policy grudgingly offered to agents in the face of the barren economic situation in Mid-March which has agents paying only 25% of fees. The discount period was recently extended through August with fees increasing to 30% for agents in September and it seems that Rightmove’s bottom line will take a substantial hit as a result. The report also notes around a 4% drop off in paying advertisers which is comparable to the figure it attributes to Zoopla’s client base loss over the same period.
On the bright side as far as Rightmove is concerned, UBS’s report also says that the recovery is already underway:
“Listings and the share of premium of listings on Rightmove both began to recover during June 2020. Premium listing are now 33 percent of all listings, the highest since we began tracking this data in 2015”
The bank also reports that Rightmove’s costs are set to be down slightly thanks to shifts in marketing spend as well as the wage bill being offset by the government furlough scheme. Rightmove’s share price had been recovering well since the pandemic related crash in March but seems to have flatlined somewhat since the beginning of June.