By Madelaine B. Miraflor
With technology disrupting almost every sector in the economy, real estate sector wasn’t spared. This, as property hunting in the Philippines is now mostly done online, overshadowing the traditional way of looking for a new home.
To be exact, online property portal Lamudi Philippines received 15 million user visits in 2017, clocking in a total of 2.7 million hours spent searching for properties online.
Lamudi Philippines chief executive officer Bhavna Suresh said this means that there is now a growing preference among Filipino real estate hunters to search online for properties that are either for sale or for lease.
“More developers, brokers, and owners are now breaking the brick and mortar barrier to crossover to the click and discover business environment,” Suresh told reporters on Thursday.
Based on consumer data gathered from its platform, lamudi.com.ph, property seekers check at least eight listings on average, spending 10 minutes per visit, indicating their serious need for comparison when it comes to making an investment decision. 60 percent of these organically driven sessions are repeat visits which means searchers have high intent in purchasing or leasing a property in the next 6 to 12 months.
“Buyers naturally do some ‘property window shopping’ before zeroing in on a shortlist and making a purchase decision,” Suresh explained. “Doing it online is more efficient and complements their usual showroom and on-site ocular visits.”
Since 2014, Lamudi has seen close to five times growth in its online traffic, indicating the Filipinos’ growing acceptance of property technology as a tool in helping them make a major purchase decision.
Property technology or PropTech is a disruptive movement in the usually traditional practice of running a real estate business. Technology enabled tools like online-based Lamudi has changed the way developers, brokers, and property owners reach a wider market.
These platforms also enable property decision makers to understand the market better and gather more consumer insights through big data, rather than the tedious manual on-ground surveys which are prone to human errors.
“With the rich data we have gathered through the years, Lamudi can now go as granular as the barangay level to cull insightful information,” Suresh said.
“These information – from unit types, sizes, and price ranges – can be used by developers and property owners to understand actual market insights and offer products that cater to the demands of the market,” she added.
With the steady growth of digital native Filipino millennials getting into active economic participation and aggressive internet penetration, Lamudi sees more property searches and transactions to go online.
“Our role in the PropTech sector is to help establish more transparency in the market. Lamudi sees itself as a collaborator, open to working with the public and the private sectors to move the industry forward,” Suresh further said.
In 2017 alone, Lamudi hosted more than 100,000 active listings, accounting to over 1.1 billion square meters of properties for sale or for lease.
These listings are a mix of residential condominiums, house and lots, apartments, commercial spaces, raw lots, and foreclosed properties located across the Philippines.
The portal has a network of 5,000 real estate brokers posting these properties, of which only PRC licensed practitioners are enrolled to ensure credibility and professionalism. Also last year, 59 percent of property hunters looked for houses while 14 percent looked for condominiums, followed by land/lots at 12 percent, and apartments at 11 percent.
Of the house and lot searches, 49 percent looked for properties priced at P5 million and below, 35 percent for homes priced up to P20 million, 13 percent for those priced up to P150 million, and interestingly, 4 percent for those with over P150 million price tag.
“We see more demand for both residential and commercial properties in the next several years as the economy grows further,” Suresh said.
“This is also driven by the government’s plans of massive infrastructure investments through the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program,” she added.