All eyes on Rightmove as American equivalent starts buying/selling

We’re talking about Zillow, obviously. America’s market-dominating property portal has seen interest perk up (but shares slide) with the announcement that it’s entering the property-flipping game. While portals – here and abroad – have been very careful to avoid stepping on the toes of the established estate agents who feed their income streams, Zillow’s move is something different. Think of something more along the lines of a house buying service, providing quick, simple finance for homeowners who need to move in a hurry, and then preparing and resisting properties for a profit. The service is being tested in Phoenix and Las Vegas first, and Zillow is keen to stress that all deals are being done with the involvement of buying and selling agents registered on the site.

Could Rightmove follow suit? Is there a potential for conflict of interest? So far, industry commentary seems focussed on the relationship between the portal and its agents, and what a Zillow dealing directly with end users’ money might mean for them. But another question is what a super-powerful and monolithic portal with real skin in the game might mean for vendor/buyer expectations and property prices, given time and reach.

More here.