Rightmove has released figures that show a record 22.3 million enquiries were logged via their online property portal between January and June – a 27% increase on the previous 6 months.
The company, which is listed in the FTSE 250 list of Britain’s largest businesses, has revealed that 40% of their web traffic now comes from smartphone users – a huge 30% more than a year ago, showing that we are changing the way we search for property.
Importantly, it seems that most estate agents are taking advantage of our love of internet property searching, with 16,700 companies now advertising listings through Rightmove. Agents are also taking out more expensive portal packages, so that the average company now spends a healthy £671 a month on the site.
These factors have helped Rightmove’s pre-tax profits burgeon to £59 million – a 31% rise on last year.
Ironically, these glowing figures have come just as Rightmove also reported that house prices fell this month – the first time this has happened since last December.
Savvy agents are not worried, though – it’s well known that prices traditionally drop in July and August as people take a break from house buying over the summer to concentrate on holidays.
There may also be a knock-on effect, however, from the stricter mortgage rules that were introduced in May, meaning a person’s outgoings as well as income are taken into account when mortgage decisions are made.
Chief Executive of Rightmove, Nick McKittrick, said: “Rightmove’s popularity goes from strength to strength, with home hunters visiting more often and looking at more property than ever”.
Rightmove’s biggest rival is, of course, Zoopla, and there has been speculation this week that the two companies might merge in order to create one “super” property portal that would dominate the market. Buyers will have to watch this space to see if this becomes a reality, allowing the best features of each site to be merged.
Building firm Taylor Wimpey also released positive statistics this week, stating that there pre-tax profits have risen 64% in the first 6 months of 2014. Their findings show that, despite many media claims that London is the biggest player in the improving property market, there is now a “greater balance between regions”, with more people looking for homes all around the country.
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