When Facebook announced it was embarking on a venture into the property listing market last month, it caused shock throughout the industry. How dominant will Facebook become in the industry? Could it eventually phase out estate agents completely? And how will the social media platform affect property search portals?
Of course, these questions have yet to be answered, and there is no clue yet as to how Facebook will dominate the market for property listings. Home owners already have a wide range of options available when selecting how to list, buy and sell their property – from traditional, hybrid and online estate agents to platforms and portals that facilitate property sales. However, home owners are always searching for new methods to sell and buy property, so Facebook’s new endeavour appears to add value, especially when considering Facebook’s huge reach.
Currently, there are around 39 million people accessing Facebook each month in the UK, with the number expected to increase to approximately 42 million people by 2022. Some industry experts, however, are not concerned about Facebook’s threat to the sector, as social media is often a means to trigger an intention, rather than a practical way to buy or sell property. However, this does not mean Facebook’s venture into property listings would not prove successful. If Facebook creates a reputation for marketing properties, then this could attract house buyers away from property portal sites.
Industry experts have found it surprising that portal sites Zoopla and OnTheMarket will be supplying property listings for Facebook Marketplace. This would inadvertently allow individuals and agents to advertise directly using Facebook, making Zoopla and OnTheMarket’s platforms redundant. There are, of course, short-term benefits to being linked to a recognised brand such as Facebook, but if this new venture becomes successful, then why would sellers or agents use property portals?
This has surely been considered by Zoopla, and the organisation has considered the partnership an opportunity to protect itself and create a worthwhile opportunity. However, it is also interesting to note that Rightmove has decided to avoid this project altogether.
Facebook’s property listings venture and its effect on estate agents and property portals depend primarily on the social media platform’s long-term strategy. For now, there is a healthy property market for traditional agents to work alongside new offerings such as Facebook, which will bring increased options and exposure for sellers. Currently, Facebook will be focusing on property rentals, but if this endeavour becomes successful, then Facebook UK may explore the selling and buying of property. If this becomes the case, property portals may start to worry.
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