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Rightmove loses agents as latest figures show huge rise in fees and profits

Rightmove loses agents as latest figures show huge rise in fees and profits

Rightmove has released another stonking set of results – but there are signs that some agents are defecting from the ever-more-expensive portal.

Figures released to shareholders this morning relating to the full year of 2019 show revenue, underlying profit and operating profit all up eight per cent – and earnings per share up no less than 10 per cent.

The key Average Revenue Per Advertiser or ARPA – how much each branch or developer pays per month – is up £83 to £1,088.

However for the first time there is a drop in membership numbers over the year.

There’s been a three per cent fall from 20,454 in December 2018 to 19,809 a few weeks ago at the end of 2019.

The breakdown shows that the portal listed 16,347 estate agency branches last year, down from 17,328 in 2018; developer numbers rose from 3,126 in 2018 to 3,462 last year.

Rightmove tells shareholders this is “reflecting a decline in mainly low-stock agency branches offset by strong growth in New Homes development numbers.”

In a statement accompanying the figures, chief executive Peter Brooks-Johnson says: “Rightmove is synonymous with home moving, with 2019 being the ninth year in a row more people searched on Google for Rightmove than for property.

“We continue to innovate, not only for home hunters, but also to help property professionals become more efficient and more resilient to a rapidly changing environment.

“Our culture of restlessness has led to the development of a number of innovative solutions which allow our professional customers to market to by far the largest audience in the UK.

“January 2020 was our busiest month ever with more than 152m visits and that trend has continued as we’ve recorded our five busiest days ever in February.

“I’m pleased that many of our customers who are seeing opportunity are choosing to invest in our digital solutions to grow their businesses.

“By working with our customers, 2019 has yet again demonstrated that Rightmove is a business which can continue to grow in uncertain times.”

In a section of this morning’s report, issued on the London Stock Exchange RNS system, it says of agents:

“Winning the right to an instruction to sell or let a property is critical to an agent’s success. 

“Our premium packages, Enhanced and Optimiser, help our customers to generate more opportunities to win instructions cost effectively. The packages include branding and property promotion solutions to boost agents’ performance in the ‘awareness’ stage of the marketing funnel, while our popular Local Valuation Alert and Rightmove Discover products fast-track agents to the ‘consideration’ stage. 

“We continue to enhance the performance of these products to keep them at the forefront of digital marketing for our customers. Following a number of enhancements, Local Valuation Alert and Rightmove Discover delivered over 20 per cent more leads from people asking for a valuation on their home in 2019 over last year.

“Against the backdrop of a cautious housing marketplace estate agents continue to recognise the value of our additional marketing products and packages with penetration of the Enhanced and Optimiser packages reaching 38 per cent of independent estate agency customers up from 27 per cent in December 2018.”