Property website Rightmove have announced a 23% rise in full-year profit saying that property was about to become a predominantly online industry.
Managing director Ed Williams was bullish about the company’s prospects as he said that the Internet was fast becoming the overwhelmingly preferred tool of home buyers and sellers alike.
Rightmove’s robust showing in a flat property market
Industry pundits said that the company’s strong showing was estimable in the current context of a flagging market.
Dominic Buch, an analyst at Numis Securities, described the profit announcement as a "commendable performance given the lacklustre state of the UK property market".
Stephen Wilmot of the Investor’s Chronicle reported that:
“Despite the flat housing market, estate agents seem to be happy to pay up – and even purchase extra premium features – because Rightmove.co.uk garners such a high proportion of house-hunters and, consequently, house-sellers. Portal websites seem to evolve naturally into monopolies: Rightmove received 9. 3bn page impressions last year, up 22 per cent and 10 times the number of its nearest competitor. ”
Rightmove’s success signifies a changing breeze
The movement of the market from print-based to online advertising is the breeze that Rightmove have picked up in an otherwise becalmed sea. Their success, predicted Williams, pointed to a trend which could see future real estate supplements looking increasingly anorexic.
"With further strong growth in 2012, there is every prospect that this will be the year when the property industry's spend on advertising on the internet will exceed that on local newspapers for the first time. "
Miles Shipside, Rightmove’s commercial director, said that the slow market may well have accelerated the exodus: "In a downturn advertisers will look for value for money. ”
Fridaysmove confirm that Internet is the best way to buy and sell
In the property and legal services sector, Fridaysmove have also noticed a steady increase in activity on their website. Director Andy Boast said that the bump represented a growing demand for fast, self-driven service.
“People are becoming increasingly aware of the power of the Internet as a consumer tool. They want a wide range of choices, they want those choices to be easy to find and they don’t want to thumb through five different newspapers to get there. ”
Service providers such as Rightmove and Fridaysmove were industry leaders because they catered to the demand for this type of service, said Boast.
“The only surprise for us in Rightmove’s announcement is that it didn’t come sooner. Advertisers have been slower than consumers in realising that the Internet is by far the most effective way to buy and sell property. ”