Zoopla share price rises as it shrugs off the threat from Agents' Mutual

Jessica Morris
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Zoopla said it does not expect lower house price growth to have a "material impact" (Source: Getty)

Shares at online property giant Zoopla rose 2.6 per cent as the market opened, after the company said full-year revenues had soared on the back of rising visits to the website, and as the company dismissed threats from a rival platform.

The property group, which is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), said revenue grew 24 per cent to £80.2m for the full year to September 30.

Leads to advertisers also posted healthy growth of 12 per cent, and it earned 18 per cent more from its advertisers.

Visits to the website rose 33 per cent to a record 513.5m from 386.5m a year earlier. Its membership rose 5 per cent to 19,663 from the previous year.

It also shrugged off the threat from a slowing housing market and rival platforms.

The company does not expect challenges in the housing market to have a "material impact" on the business. Additionally, while the launch of rival portal Agents' Mutual in January could have a short-term impact, Zoopla said it will take "effective action" in order to compete with them.

Recent data has shown house price growth is beginning to slow across the UK, as “cooling measures” introduced by the Bank of England earlier this year begin to kick in.

Annual house price growth slid to 8.8 per cent in October, figures by Halifax showed. This was down from 9.6 per cent in September.

Commenting on the results, Alex Chesterman, Zoopla’s chief executive and founder said:

We enjoyed record levels of traffic to our websites and mobile applications with 42.8m average monthly visitors generating over 29 million leads during the year.

We remain committed to our mission of building our brands and business to provide the most useful property resources to consumers along with being the most effective partner for property professionals across the UK

However Agents Mutual hit back with Ian Springett, chief exec of OnTheMarket.com, saying:

It is our belief that Rightmove and Zoopla have failed to acknowledge the strength of the dissatisfaction felt by many estate and letting agents over the existing portal market duopoly.

This is evidenced by the fact that thousands of agents have already signed up to switch from them and use the new portal when it launches on January 26th.

From this date, neither Rightmove nor Zoopla will be able to claim they cover the entire market because many estate and letting agents will be leaving them to join OnTheMarket.com which will create a unique set of listings.

In order for what is a new start-up to become established, our member agents commit to list with us and just one other competing portal. This is likely to lead to the existing two major portals losing significant advertising business as OnTheMarket.com grows over the coming years.

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