Dozens of specialist property portal platforms have been launched in recent years that claim to be the ‘next Rightmove of their sector’. But only one has come close.
StuRents, which now lists 750,000 student beds which it says represents approximately 60% of the student letting market.
“There are approximately 350,000 PBSA beds and 900,000 HMO beds in the UK market,” says co-founder Tom Walker.
Established in 2008 it has grown organically by offering both landlords, letting agents, purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) operators and property managers a level playing fields on which to compete for student lettings – unlike Rightmove, Zoopla and OTM, which only allow agents to use their platforms.
Its other USP is that, unlike the big property portal players, it offers a ‘full stack’ of services from online contract signing to full property management as well as listings.
Walker, whose co-founder Mike Rainsford was featured in The Times, says his portal is making hay in a specialist space where the big portals have a weakness and that, for example, Rightmove is non-existent in many of the main student city lettings markets.
“If you’re a PBSA operator or student letting agent then using Rightmove is very expensive, so we offer a portal that’s much more affordable and targeted and that covers three quarters of the market,” he tell The Negotiator.
“But we’re aware that in particular Rightmove is playing catch-up as it buys up rental property viewings booking proptech platforms. But we have a superior offering and data – we can tell our research clients which neighbourhood in a city is most in demand, how accommodation budgets vary by student cohort and which segments of each city are under or over supplied – granular data that hasn’t previously been available in the student sector.”
On the one hand Rightmove may be trying gingerly to back into the transaction world of renting, but on the other hand StuRents is busy building a commanding position in the student market with superior tech that appeal to all the players.