Investors in Rightmove, the operator of Britain’s largest housing website, were rattled by news that not only does Rightmove have to contend with falling prices, it also will soon be facing competition from a free rival. Rightmove's shares fell 14.25p to 305.75p.

The NAEA has confirmed that it will establish a free property website, possibly as early as September. The website, developed at the request of the trade group’s members, is in beta testing and estate agents are already uploading their properties. NAEA’s 10,000 members – who pay an annual membership fee of £175– will be able to advertise properties for sale or rent on the site for no extra charge. Rightmove, which has about 80% of total property page views when calculated on a monthly basis, charges estate agents £495 to advertise.

Analysts said that Rightmove may come under pressure to reduce its prices, but conceded that it would be difficult for a newcomer to break into the market. Moreover, they doubted that estate agents would risk cancelling their Rightmove subscription.

The Times