UK Portals are Doing What They Can to Survive the Pandemic

April 14, 2020
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In the UK, portals are doing what they can to answer the problems that have arisen from the coronavirus pandemic. 

With hopes of throwing Rightmove off of its thrown, Zoopla had entered a strategic negotiation with two heavy-hitters to entice its agents and agents from its rival with discounted offers. Something that struggling businesses would be foolish not to take advantage of.

In fact, around half of Zoopla's branches have used the discounted offers since they were launched.

Zoopla had originally presented agents with at most 30 branches, two offers:

  1. Nine months free with a return to normal fees for 18 months after the free period ends. This was a move to offer agents under Rightmove another incentive to leave that portal for Zoopla's. 
  2. Five months free, returning to normal fees for 18 months.

Meanwhile, OnTheMarket (OTM) has confidence it will outlast the crisis, support its agent network, protect jobs and save its valuation. 

The British portal has seen its own cases of less than savory measures to cut costs.

OTM's measures to cut costs include:

  • Furloughed a fifth of its staff
  • Cut wages to its employees by 20% (including its leadership and senior teams)
  • Reduced its IT workers
  • Uprooted its marketing schemes
  • Agreed 'deferments of creditor payments'
  • Offered a 33% discount of fees for agents lasting 3 months

While revenue dwindles in the short-term, the company will continue to support its workforce and conserve money where it can while it rides out the pandemic. 

Zoopla head, Charlie Bryant explained the reasoning behind these options, saying that numbers have shown that listings are still on the market and that there is hope consumers won't abandon buying and selling property any time soon. He said:

“Having that stock will be really, really important to enable a bounce back once the market reopens. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s a green shoot, but it’s a seed in the ground."

Bryant also claims that browsing activity is slowly on the rise. Though transactions have seemed to stagnated, with shelter-in-place orders in effect for almost every country in the world, the websites are still being visited. Portals across all markets are doing what they can to stave off the worst case scenario.

April 14, 2020
Victoria has been writing about property portals and marketplace sites for Online Marketplaces for over 3 years. She is also our resident artist and is responsible for all of the infographic content on the site.

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