Rightmove "taking appropriate measures" to shore up company

Some 2,500 estate agency branches have expressed an interest in a new portal, Homesearch, launching next month.

Although the Homesearch website lists the branches as having “joined” the new portal, a statement from the two founders refers to the branches as having “signed up to register their interest and follow the development of the new product.”

Homesearch says it has information on Britain’s entire 29m housing stock and pledges to be not just another portal but “the future of the industry” when it debuts on May 25.

The statement also says that while the portal will not directly charge agents for listings or leads, it will offer an optional – and so far unexplained – service called Network which will cost £155 per bench per month, capped until 2025.

Homesearch has been a supplier to the industry since 2017, until now specialising in data for agents.

Co-founder Giles Ellwood, who is the owner of Homesearch, says: “Homesearch is not a portal in the traditional sense. We won’t charge to list instructions, nor will we ever charge to deliver leads. As we approach the launch we will detail exactly how the Network piece will serve agents to deliver buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants from day one.”

And the other co-founder, Sam Hunter, adds: “Homesearch will always be about giving an agent the information and technology needed to connect with more people. Now we’re just giving the public an opportunity to connect back.”

Agencies registering an interest so far include those from Foxtons, Winkworth and Purplebricks, although the majority appear to be small independents.

The website say that from 2025 the Network cost will be £395 and will rise thereafter in line with the Consumer Price Index “which is circa 1% to 2% per annum.”

It also adds: “We’d be open to discussing how members of the agent community could participate in our board meetings as an added layer of transparency.”