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Landlords and letting agents could see Rightmove’s crown slip in the rental market as a new pretender steps up – if a proposed merger is allowed to go ahead.
Digital Property Group – owned by the company behind the Daily Mail – and Zoopla want to join forces to tackle the undisputed property portal king Rightmove head on.
The proposal is currently under review by the Office of Fair Trading, which has delayed a promised March 1 decision.
After years of expensive advertising and promotion, they remain firmly planted as a distant second behind the dominating Rightmove.
The merger would tilt the balance in their favour by taking away the advantage Rightmove has is in the market.
After a merger, Rightmove would remain slightly ahead in property sales, but the new group would nudge ahead on lettings, according to independent property analysts Home.
“Taking a look across sales agencies, we estimate that Rightmove covers 76% of agent offices, FindaProperty 61% and Zoopla 39%,” said Doug Shephard, of search analysts Home.
“FindaProperty and Zoopla combined would cover 71%. However, if we add in the lesser-known Mouseprice, it’s neck and neck with DPG’s overall percentage of sales offices coming out at 75%.
“The booming rental market on the other hand presents a different story. Rightmove covers 68% of letting agent offices, FindaProperty 62% and Zoopla 41%. FindaProperty and Zoopla combined would cover 73%. Add in Mouseprice and the TPPG letting-agent share reaches a Rightmove-busting 78%.
“Our assessment of the likely impact of the proposed merger suggests that Rightmove would be knocked into second place by the superior market presence of the Digital Property Group and Zoopla in the rentals sector.”
“Should the merger go ahead, Rightmove would be expected to fight back by attempting to increase their share of rentals. This potential battle of the giants should lead to price competition, which would help reduce the costs of both selling and letting.”
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