U.K.-based real estate vertical Zoopla has gained about 400 new branches as a result of its coronavirus-related agent offer.

Zoopla and Rightmove, the leading property portal, responded differently to the pandemic. Rightmove initially offered a fee deferral of £275 per month for qualifying agents, which attracted criticism. Zoopla took advantage of Rightmove’s error and offered new and existing agent customers who commit to leave Rightmove at the end of their contracts, a nine-month free period if they signed up to a long-term contract of between 12 and 36 months at normal fee levels. The company also launched a second option, which did not include an obligation to leave Rightmove.

The update provides the first glimpse of the success of that strategic play.

Zoopla said 400 new branches have joined since the end of March and over 90% of Zoopla agents have committed to a long-term partnership with the portal. The new fee structures will cost Zoopla £30 million ($38 million U.S.), which the company is framing as an investment in its agent partners.

The property market in the U.K. reopened on May 13 after a 50-day shutdown, allowing renters and buyers to move home and view properties as long as they observed physical distancing rules. Zoopla said since the market reopened it has provided over two million applicant, valuation and phone leads to its agent partners, equivalent of a lead every 1.1 seconds.

Total sessions on Zoopla were up 58% for the week of June 1, compared to the week before lockdown ended. The company’s database of potential buyers, renters and sellers grew by around 5% week-on-week, while email engagement is up 13% compared to the period before the pandemic.

“It is rewarding to see our significant investment in the agent community repaid with the overwhelming majority signing long-term partnerships with Zoopla,” said Zoopla CEO, Charlie Bryant. “Outside of our agent partners, it’s great to see home hunters not only continuing to visit Zoopla in growing numbers but also that this is translating to more sales, rental and valuation leads for agents. This shows that the interest isn’t just idle browsing, it is serious activity that will help build the long-term pipeline for agents.”

Separate research from Zoopla published on June 10, found demand for property was 54% higher than at the start of March, while new sales are just 12% lower than levels seen in early March before the lockdown. Sales have increased by 137% since the market reopened and the average asking price of homes that sold in the last week is 6% higher than a year ago as more buyers opt for higher priced properties.

“The rebound in housing demand over the last month is not solely explained by a return of pent-up demand. Covid has brought a whole new group of would-be buyers into the housing market,” said Richard Donnell, Zoopla’s director of research and insight. “We still believe that this spike in demand will be short-lived as the economic impacts of Covid start to feed through into market sentiment and levels of market activity in 2020 H2.”

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