High end London agent leaves Zoopla as sellers demand return to Rightmove

Pressure from sellers who demanded to see their property listed on Rightmove has forced a leading estate agent to drop Zoopla and rejoin the UK’s biggest portal. Predominantly London-based residential estate agents Chestertons had stopped using Rightmove a few months earlier, preferring instead to list with number two site Zoopla plus newcomer OntheMarket.com (OTM).

Arightmove_logoll of the 30 London sales branches have now reversed the move, leaving only one of Chestertons’ UK property offices – Tenterden in Kent – still with Zoopla.

Estate agencies have been signing up en masse with the new, agent-owned property portal OTM, since it launched in Janurary 2015. However, OTM’s controversial ‘one other portal’ rule has forced its members to make a choice between whether they also advertise on Rightmove or Zoopla (but not both).

Zoopla has overwhelmingly lost out from this policy, with around 90% of agencies opting to stay with Rightmove. Chestertons was one of the minority who initially opted to stick with Zoopla, but have now switched back to Rightmove.

It seems the decision was one of simple economics, as well as pressure from their customers. Whilst Zoopla delivers considerable numbers of website users, Chestertons claimed that it did not provide enough actual buyers.

Moreover, clients apparently expect to see their properties listed on market leader Rightmove, and in the end Chestertons rejoined the bigger team.

The development compounds a tricky year for Zoopla, which has seen some 4,000 residential estate agent branches leave since January following the emergence of OTM.

Agents’ Mutual, the group behind OnTheMarket, have stated their intention to compete Zoopla out of business, before tackling Rightmove and ultimately becoming the major property portal in the sector. Zoopla is strongly defending its position as number two and claims OTM is a “short term event”.