Agent`s War Of Words Over Rightmove`s House Price Survey

Date Published 25 October 2013

Rightmove has been slammed for producing `damaging, lazy statistics` that are seriously hurting the property market.

Ed Mead, director of Douglas & Gordon, took to Twitter to vent his ire, criticising the latest Rightmove house price survey as `absurd`.

He took particular issue with the claim that asking prices in London have gone up 10% – and accused Rightmove of allowing the media to report that `house prices have gone up 10% in a month`. Mead accused journalists of `poor reporting`.

In fact, the national press release that Rightmove sent out to journalists was headed: `London prices rise unsustainably, beating previous high by nearly £30k.` The release did refer to `asking price`, but under the headline.

In furious exchanges on Twitter, Mead said Rightmove had a responsibility to ensure that it talked about `asking prices` every time it mentioned them.

He said: `Rightmove have a lot to answer for. Their statistics are ASKING PRICES, NOT real ones.`

Mead even challenged Rightmove: `Your stats are meaningless. Talk to those who pay you – us – and we`ll tell you how badly you`re damaging our businesses.`

One poster who agreed, Alan Page, said: `Rightmove stat saying London house prices up 10% a month is absurd, dangerous and completely at odds with reality.` Another, Timebandit, said that Rightmove`s monthly house price bulletin was nothing more than `a greed index` that fails buyers, sellers and agents.

Miles Shipside, director of Rightmove, did not join in the Twitter debate but changed the heading on the Rightmove online blog to: `New seller asking prices soar.` This did not completely satisfy Mead, who said the horse had bolted and the damage was done.

Shipside told EAT: While the world increasingly uses the internet and Twitter to communicate, I picked up the phone and have spoken to Ed personally and we had a very constructive conversation. Ed subsequently updated his Twitter to say that he appreciated the call.

`We always stress that the Rightmove Index reports prices of properties coming to market – a good lead indicator in the property market – though occasionally some journalists are less rigorous with their reporting. A few look for the most sensational angle and ignore much of the commentary.

`I agreed to tweak a blog headline on Rightmove as a result of my call to Ed, again emphasising the ‘new seller asking price`.`

In today`s blog on Estate Agent Today, however, Mead says he remains angry. He tells how one client `with an already stretched asking price` on their house in Chelsea queried why, since Rightmove were reporting a 10.2% house price rise in London in October, were the agents finding the market so difficult.

Mead says: `This is just the sort of thing that reporting like this causes, and to simply ignore it is a travesty. If Rightmove won`t start to try and help the agents they serve, then bring on Agents` Mutual.`