Rummage4Property has received support from Countrywide, as well as 30 other estate agency groups and some of the largest London-listed housebuilders, such as Barratt Developments and Persimmon, all of which have agreed to list their properties on the site.

In launching in the UK, expected next year, Rummage4Property will be competing with giants Rightmove and Zoopla, which dominate the property portal space. According to Rightmove's most recent annual report, it holds more than 70pc of the market, while Zoopla has a 20pc share. 

Rummage4Property chief executive Anthony Codling, a former analyst at investment bank Jefferies, said: "As an analyst, Rightmove is the most profitable company I ever analysed. It has been the dominant number one in the market for more than ten years.

"But whereas Rightmove is broadly charging people £1,000 a month, we're going to charge people £100 a month, and rather than putting prices up every year by our own calculations, we're going to link our fees to house price inflation.

"We want to give some of the value back to estate agents," he said. "We think the real value is the listings and not the portal. If we had no listings, nobody would come to us."

The backing from a number of estate agents comes amid a tough couple of years for the sector which has been hit by a slower housing market and growing competition from online players. 

Countrywide, for example, revealed over the summer that it had fallen to a £242m loss and needed to raise funds to pay off its growing debt pile. The announcement wiped two thirds off its market value in one day. 

Mr Codling said: "I would hope to see more estate agents staying in business, because we're saving them costs. If we're successful, there will be more choice for the consumer, and choice will mean price competition among other things."

Earlier this year, Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, warned that more estate agents were struggling with high fees, saying they had "no choice but to cough up" when property portal Rightmove continued to raise the price of its core package.

"Rightmove simply is the UK property market. If you’re buying a property it’s the first place you go. If you’re selling, a Rightmove listing is an estate agent’s most powerful weapon. Rightmove’s pricing power is huge.

"It’s all very well arguing that estate agents have no choice but to pay, but if conditions don’t improve some will find they still can’t. Rightmove may have found the goose that lays the golden egg, but it needs to make sure it doesn’t squeeze it too hard.”

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