Corporate News

More Filipinos use social media to hunt for properties: report

Posted on January 18, 2017

MORE HOMEBUYERS are hunting properties on social media, a trend underscoring the need for developers and sellers to groom their online presence to boost sales, according to a digital property marketplace.

The Makati central business district is seen in this undated file photo. -- AFP
In a report released late Monday, the Lamudi Group noted the use of social media for the search and ultimately discovery of properties in the Philippines and the rest of Asia will become more apparent this year.

“This trend will ultimately lead to increased social media usage for real estate, both among buyers and sellers,” the global property Web site noted in the report Trends in Asia’s Online Real Estate Market in 2017.

Citing data from the 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers by the National Association of Realtors, Lamudi said 92% of homebuyers depended on the Internet for information, 65% viewed a home advertised online and 44% found their property on the cyberspace.

“Many of these homebuyers will have used social media to lead them on their search and their ultimate property discovery. This effect is only going to get stronger in 2017,” Lamudi said.

Developers and agents, on the other hand, have found value in increasing their brand’s visibility and boosting quality traffic through social media, according to Lamudi.

“Not only is social media boosting sales, it is boosting sales tremendously. This is partly because property is more visible to international buyers searching online than ever before,” Lamudi noted in the report.

The increased usage of online advertising reflects the deeper Internet penetration in the emerging markets of Asia. In the Philippines, more than 45% of the population already had access to the cyberspace in 2015, according to Lamudi.

“This increase in Internet usage has led to property hunters becoming more and more reliant on the Internet for their house hunt. As a result of this, real estate professionals are now spending more on digital than ever before,” Lamudi said.

In a market report released earlier, Lamudi Philippines found 88% of real estate agents notice frequent use of the Internet among customers during the house-hunting process.

“How will this trend pan out for real estate in 2017? Well, it is likely that users’ dependency on technology will increase and that property portals and apps will become practically indispensable both for property seekers and agents,” Lamudi noted.

The virtual reality (VR) technology is among the innovations expected to gain popularity in the online real estate marketplace this year. In September 2016, for instance, Lamudi Philippines hosted the first VR real estate exposition in the country.

“Today’s home buyers want more than photos, and with VR technology, buyers can now experience their prospective home in a 360-degree environment from home or while on the move. Thanks to this revolutionary new technology, real estate markets are now opening up to international buyers,” Lamudi noted.

Also, the property market should generally benefit from the economic integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which paved the way for the easing of trade barriers between members, according to Lamudi.

In the Philippines, an increase in foreign direct investments along with the growing affluence of Filipinos should support the growth of the real estate sector. In Indonesia, among others, the relaxation of foreign ownership limitation for properties should help boost the market.

“To add to the positive trends predicted for 2017 in Asia, it is definitely worth mentioning real estate investment trusts (REIT),” Lamudi said, citing moves to introduce the investment product in Sri Lanka.

“The benefit of REITs is that they own and finance income-producing real estate. The introduction of REITs can lead to a healthier real estate landscape, containing a range of housing for different budgets.” -- Keith Richard D. Mariano