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Changing house-hunting habits fuel growth of property portals

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DOT Property Philippines Country Manager Tanya Peralta-Yu, Dot Property Group COO and Founder Neil Sutton, and Dot Property Group Editor-in-Chief Cheyenne Hollis at a recent press briefing where they announced Dot Property as the number 1 online property portal in the country in terms of traffic.

By Bjorn Biel M. Beltran

THE country’s real estate sector is facing disruption as pressure from changing consumer habits push developers and agents online, according to property services portal Dot Property.

Dot Property, which has recorded over one million monthly visits in both May and June, found that home buyers are now utilizing property portals to facilitate their search for new homes, disrupting one of the country’s last remaining offline-focused industries.

Millennials, in particular, are leading this shift, as more than 60% of property searches in June reportedly came from users aged 25 to 36.

“The real estate industry is moving online. This is a global trend and Filipinos have been quick to join, especially millennials,” Tanya Peralta-Yu, country manager for Dot Property Philippines, said in a recent press conference.

“More Filipino home buyers, both domestically as well as those overseas, are now using online property portals. That’s because they are quicker and easier to navigate than offline methods. Portals also offer home seekers a better selection of homes to choose from.”

Data recorded by Dot Property showed that majority (67.97%) of its over one million visits in May and June were made within the country, with 27.63% of visitors coming from Quezon City, 21.77% from Makati, and 8.38% from Manila.

Visits made from abroad mostly came from the United States, which accounted for 11.23% of international visits, and Canada, with 1.90%.

Ms. Peralta-Yu noted the property seekers included middle-income workers who are looking for homes near their workplace, overseas Filipino workers, expatriates, and corporations eyeing investment opportunities.

These users aren’t simply “window shopping,” either.

Dot Property data found that its users were willing to reach out to a seller directly if they find a property they like. The number of leads — when a person inquires about a specific property — coursed through Dot Property Philippines rose 33% in May and 26% in June when compared to the same months in 2017.

In addition to recording an all-time high in website visits, the company also saw a significant increase in members of its agent network. The number of agents partnering with Dot Property Philippines grew by 92% in June.

Ms. Peralta-Yu pointed out that property portals will continue to grow with more people coming online and an increase in millennials’ spending power.

“We’re only scratching the surface of what’s possible. Searching online for property was the first step, but we can see that Filipinos are not simply browsing or window shopping. They are reaching out to and negotiating with sellers whenever they see a property that they like on Dot Property Philippines,” she said.

Moreover, Dot Property remains optimistic about the Philippine market’s appetite for real estate, as interest and inflation rates affect prices.

“The fundamentals are good,” Dot Property Editor-in Chief Cheyenne Hollis said. “Obviously, there’s always some concerns from foreign investors in emerging markets, but in the Philippines everything looks solid. Everything looks to be pointing up, and we’re very confident moving forward that the market will continue to perform well.”

Launched in September 2016, Dot Property Philippines is one of the leading property websites in the country in terms of traffic and is one of nine country property portals operated by Dot Property Group. Dot Property operates property portals across nine Southeast Asian countries, namely Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Singapore and Malaysia.

Dot Property Philippines recently added home listings in the Philippines from the Mitula Group, its parent company, to the website. Mitula Group receives 85 million visits per month across 100 vertical search sites and 10 property portals under the Dot Property banner in more than 50 countries.