Property search startups grow up

Dothomes, the renamed property search engines formerly known as Extate, has launched a property price tracker to measure prices. Plug in a postcode, the year and month you purchased your house and it will map that data against a number of other data points including including average national property prices, average London property prices, FTSE100 indices and the Bank of England base rates.

This is nice, but other sites are also doing similar kinds of things including Nestoria, which recently launched an API for data about average house prices in a postcode, in its key markets of the UK and Spain. Plus we can get some similar raw data from the Land Registry anyway.

Nestoria has also launched a house price widget which allows anyone to paste average house prices for their area onto their blog or website, etc. And they have obviously been busy, coming up with UK Property Vision, which is best described as Twittervision meets property porn.

So where are the APIs and widgets from Dothomes? It looks like they are no longer bothered by that game. Dothomes have dumped their old Extate model of keeping users on the site (at one point we were being encouraged to upload whole videos of houses) and gone for a full-blown “Google” strategy. Their new aim is to provide the absolute best search engine they can, give good results, link searchers directly to the estate agents’ original listings and then rely on the fact that they will come back again. In addition – instead of trying to compete with estate agents as a portal – as a search engine they will be in a position to now sell premium advertising against results and also sell search terms.

Dothomes is owned by BytePlay the company which has investment from The Accelerator Group (TAG), Arts Alliance, and Samos Investments. It was founded in May 2006 by Artemi Krymski and Douglas de Jager, two young alumni of London’s Imperial College, something of a hotbed of UK-based startups.

Meanwhile, the last I heard from Zoomf, that other UK-based Web 2.0 property site (which closed a round of funding from HOWZAT media at the start of the year) they’d launched a ‘Visual Search’ facility where you can draw on a map the area you would like to search for property in.

My mobile is also free from any voicemail from OnOneMap, and Igglo, the property search engine from Finland which trumpeted a $12.5m investment from Benchmark Europe a whole year ago about its impending entry into the UK, only for the line to go quiet. A simple check reveals that typing in re-directs you to Perhaps they had second thoughts? Either that or they had mates who worked at Northern Rock….

All in all it feels as if the property search startups are starting to mature and shake-out from their flurry of activity at the start of the year and are heading back to focus on their core ideas. This seems appropriate in a housing market which is waking up and smelling some very strong black coffee right now.

Here is more on Extate/Dothomes

Here is more on Zoomf

Here is more on OnOneMap

Here is more on Nestoria