Google is reportedly planning on entering the UK property market with their own property portal, potentially threatening the revenues or other property sites and newspapers.
According to the FT, Google who are now known for their disruptive entrances into established markets, is already in talks with estate agents with aims to launch the UK site early next year.
Ed Mead, commercial director at Douglas & Gordon, the estate agency, said that it had spoken to Google about the plans. “It looks very simple. If it stays free, then Google has a massive winner on its hands as it will get the backing from estate agents currently paying for rival sites.”
This isn’t Google’s first venture into property either, the search giant launched a property portal in Australia last August where estate agents could list properties for free.
Early signs suggest that Australian estate agents however have not abandoned advertising on existing websites.
In response to the reports, Ed Williams, managing director of UK Property Portal Rightmove said : “We provide visibility of brand and logo. Agents are spending money on raising brand awareness, not getting more properties online.”
Rightmove charges estate agents an average of £325 per month.
As with many other property markets, the UK has taken a beating, leaving many agents struggling to survive after years of rich pickings. In this market, costs of sale are clearly something that agencies will consider when listing properties, particularly at the lower end of the market, and if a company like Google can let them list and market for free – I know where I would go.
Additionally with Google often being the first stop for your average Joe, even when just looking for an agent in the area their looking to buy, Google has prime opportunity to list properties available in the area – just as images appear now above relevant search results.