Website homes in on the crashRobert Watts
FOUND, at last – a property business that has had a successful 2008. It’s name? Housepricecrash.co.uk.
When 25-year-old Brendan McLoughlin bought the obscure website three years ago the only visitors were a few doomsayers warning that the end was nigh for the house-price boom. Now, as property values nosedive, the controversial news and discussion website is attracting 50,000 hits a day and revenue of more than £300,000 from advertisers including Sky, Virgin and BT.
And according to the internet rating agency Hitwise, it is now the ninth-biggest property website in the UK.
However, the site has attracted the ire of property experts who accuse McLoughlin of profiteering from pessimism.
TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp of Channel 4’s Location, Location, Location has described the site as “sick”.
“There is a website called Housepricecrash and I am their deadliest enemy,” she said earlier this year. “They all rent and have a vested interest and enjoyment in watching others suffer . . . We are not going into freefall unless we panic ourselves into it.”
McLoughlin defended the site, saying: “I’ve owned a property since 2003 and have felt the pain of falling prices.”
House prices have dropped by 14.9% over the past year and many economists predict further losses of 15%-20% in 2009.