City analyst Jefferies has this morning issued a briefing note to investors on the practice of portal juggling.
It says that the practice is widespread, but more prevalent among hybrid than high street agents.
The note, from Anthony Codling, says it is a preliminary “first small step in a much larger research journey that seeks to understand why portal juggling occurs”.
It goes on to explain: “At this stage, we do not know why agents are portal juggling, although it appears to us that a by-product of the practice is that the agent appears busier than they would be in the absence of those juggles.”
It says that Rightmove has put an end to simple re-listing by the introduction of its 14-week rule. Of its claim that hybrid agents do more juggling than high street agents, the Jefferies note claims: “We estimate that the hybrid sector has around 4% market share but accounted for 30.5% of the top 50 juggled properties.
“When we look across the market at agents that have juggled ten or more properties, the hybrids account for 41% of all the juggles (ten times their 4% market share), while the traditional agents, with 96% market share, account for 59% of juggles.
“Are the disruptors on to something here? Our own research shows that Purplebricks’ sale agreed/listing ratio is 89/5% whereas Countrywide’s is 60.2%, LSL’s 50.6% and Foxtons’ 48.8%. These are very big differences in performance.
“Could there be a link between portal juggling and the success of an estate agent?”
This morning’s note says that the next step of the Jefferies research will take the analysis a stage further. “We have details of every property listed on Rightmove since November 2016 and will track all of those properties through to the Land Registry database during 2017.
“We hope this will definitely prove which agents are most effective at selling homes. We are also tracking the price of homes from initial listing to completed sale, and the time taken to sell.”