British real estate portals are increasingly focusing on data and exclusive information in a race to get ahead and provide new insights for agents and consumers.
Three separate new initiatives focus on this and they come the week after Zoopla launched its ‘My Home’ hub and CEO Charlie Bryant announced that part of that launch will focus on providing a CV or database for all 28 million residential properties in the U.K.
Property data the new battleground for portals
Property data expert Jason Barrott, who now works for challenger portal PropertyHeads.com and used to work at Zoopla’s Hometrack and property information firm CoreLogic is predicting that the next key battleground for property portals will be over who has the best online information logbooks for each home in the U.K.
Up until now the battle has focused on which portal has the most listings and agents, but Barrott thinks the focus will shift to which has the most information for each property, including historic photos, planning information, sales data, rental history and pricing information.
PropertyHeads.com is developing its own product called Log Book, which appears to work in a similar way to the aim Zoopla has for ‘My Home’ hub. It will use details from two acquisitions PropertyHeads.com recently made of Mouseprice, purchased from the Daily Mail last year, and OurProperty.co.uk.
“Mouseprice has been around since the turn of the century and that has allowed them to develop a huge repository of intelligence with a scope and quality which goes beyond what is being provided by the major portals,” said Barrott.
Minimum information required for property portal listings
In another initiative National Trading Standards has asked estate agents to tell them what information should be added to portals for individual properties when they are listed for sale or rent as a ‘minimum basic’.
Trading Standards property arm NTSEA is canvasing the industry to find out their views as the agency formulates minimum requirements for new guidance to be issued later this year. Estate agents have until May 17 to respond and give their opinions on issues including broadband speeds and cladding.
Agents already have an obligation to not hide key material information from buyers when they upload property details but NTSEA wants to see consistency across the industry. NTSEA says that having consistent and standard requirements will benefit the industry by reducing the number of sales that fall through and lowering complains against estate agents
“We want to make it easier for agents to provide basic material information to consumers by ensuring more of this information is published on property listings,” said James Munro, senior manager of the NTSEA.
The initiative is backed by 90% of consumers, according to NTSEA and all three main portals and many other property industry organisations are involved.
Agents should educate homeowners on values, says Zoopla
Zoopla’s new hidden equity survey highlights the discrepancies in valuations by agents. It found of 2,000 homeowners who had valuations done in the last three years, 45% found their property was worth on average £46,305 more than they anticipated, while a quarter discovered their property was actually worth £44,313 less than expected on average.
This means just three in ten homeowners had an accurate picture of the value of their home. This could impact decisions on when to put a property up for sale or whether homeowners think they could afford to move to a new property.
Zoopla said the equity survey can attract homeowners’ attention to get a price estimate from an agent on its new ‘My Home’ hub which will provide agents with more leads.
“The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have led to a once-in-a-lifetime reassessment from homeowners about how and where they want to live. This, coupled with the stamp duty holiday and the search for space, has led to a buoyant market; however, it’s clear this soaring buyer demand is not currently being matched by the supply of homes being listed for sale” says Andy Marshall, Zoopla’s chief commercial officer.
“Zoopla has launched My Home to encourage homeowners to check the estimated value for their property and consider selling their home to unlock hidden equity, which will, in turn, stimulate the market,” said Zoopla CCO Andy Marshall.