We have all heard the news that the property market is on the up, but what makes this period of growth different perhaps to any previous one is the importance of online property portals like Rightmove and Zoopla to the modern market.
True, when the last bubble burst in 2007, Rightmove in particular was already a key piece in the Estate Agency armour (Rightmove having been established in 2000), but the growth in popularity in this method of house hunting, both for Sales and for Rentals, has surged in the last 5 years or so. Notably, Rightmove’s biggest rival, Zoopla, has achieved massive success since its launch in 2008. Not that Rightmove seems to be in any danger of slipping down the ranks. The company has just announced that it experienced its highest record ever for monthly internet traffic in January 2014, with 1.45 billion pages being viewed. This has generated 3.5 million enquiries for estate agencies – equivalent to more than 1 per second. Similarly, Zoopla, which also owns PrimeLocation and SmartNewHomes, has reported a 37% year-on-year increase in internet traffic over the 6 months, to 31st March. A key reason for the rise in traffic is the use of mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, allowing people to search for property whilst on the move. Lawrence Hall, Head of Communications at Zoopla, explained the importance of optimising mobile content for consumer needs: “We are always looking to innovate and add new and useful tools for consumers to help them make smarter property decisions”. Consequently, the major property portals are battling to offer the information that people want, such as commuting distances and the proximity of particular facilities to the properties being advertised. Importantly, however, the rise in “DIY” sales, which many predicted with the rise of the internet, has not really taken off as expected. Sarah Beeny, of hit TV show Property Ladder fame, told the Telegraph that, after she set up her own property sales website four years ago, she discovered “people wanted to be on the property portals” because it is seen as a much more effective way of selling. Sarah has relaunched her company as an “online estate agency”, offering more sellers practical help than she originally thought they would want. It seems that most buyers still value the knowledge and expertise of the traditional Estate Agency route of property purchase, and the use of the internet has become the agent’s best friend, allowing national and international customers to find their businesses, thus proving a great marketing tool. We can therefore see online property portals perhaps as an entry point into the world of Estate Agency, allowing buyers to find potential homes but, maybe more importantly, also to find an agent whom they trust. Once that first contact is made via Rightmove or Zoopla, the customer is given access to the personalised service that only a local agency can offer, such as knowledge of the local area, details of other suitable properties and experience of the financial and legal sides of buying or renting. Julie Twist Properties advertises across the major property portals, including Rightmove and Zoopla, as well as on its own website, in local press and in branch. Why not contact us today to find out what properties we have on offer?
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