Written by Bertram Nwannekanma
Posted on 05-06-2018
Notwithstanding about 8000 to 10,000 property portals around the world, accounting for over 60 percent of concluded property deals, Nigeria is still lagging behind in on-line property listing.With the advent of the internet, companies are beginning to create solutions that help to meet the needs of their clients without breaking a sweat.
According to Property Portal Watch's 2016 Madrid conference founder, Simon Baker, the industry is an ecosystem that keeps growing, fragmenting and providing a fertile ground for new companies to emerge and thrive.Some of the notable world best property portals include, EasyProperty, Realestate.com.au, Rightmove, Trulia, VivaReal, Purplebricks, Zameen, Mitula Group, Immobiliare, Square Yards and Real Estate Investar.
The real estate industry in Nigeria is not left out too, as the increased penetration of digital technology and new owners and investors coming into the Nigerian land market has made online listing of property inevitable.The Guardian learnt that the number of renters searching for property online platforms rose to 10 per cent in 2016 – an increase of 5 per cent since 2015, while direct home buyers also shot up to 8 per cent at the end of 2016.
Some on line outfits like Zoomek, Lamudi, Nigeria Property Centre, Private property, Property 24, Hutbay, Castles Nigeria. Tolet.com.ng now Propertypro.ng, Property index, Lands.ng and Multiple Listing Site, recently launched by the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, (NIESV), through its Faculty of Estate Agency and Marketing, are already taking the lead.
But, operators said property portals are bedeviled by serious challenge of fraudsters and infrastructure deficiency to drive the process as many Nigerians still go through the hassle of physical search and transactions.Hence the penetration is still low despite the perceived gains. Nevertheless, Property Pro.ng acquisition of Jumia House, which made it the biggest real estate platform with a 65 percent market share of the Nigerian online real estate scene seemed to be a booster.
With the acquisition, PropertyPro.ng added Jumia House's 22,000 listings to its 60,000 in addition to its leads and traffic.According to the managing director of Property Vault Nigeria Limited, Andy Morkah , the traffic is growing and attracted more visitors, while Property Insider projects that at the end of its upgrading exercise last year about 100,000 unique visitors are expected per day on its website.Morkah said the digital marketing is bringing out the best in the Nigerian property market and leading to its recovery.He stressed that his platforms has enabled sellers and buyers, landlords and tenants to deal directly with one another and bypass the middlemen.
Also the founder of Lands.ng, Mr. Godwin Ani, believed that property portals have revolutionize the way Nigerians think about real estate by providing a long term solution to the home ownership challenges and the living standard of our society.He said: "Lands.ng has within a short period recorded over 14 million plots of land uploaded, more than 250 registered and certified Agents, multiple enquiries from over 12 states in Nigeria, rich information, dynamic listings, lead generation forms, access to credible data and much more"
Ani further explained that there is now, more than ever, a need for a more robust offering for connecting investors, buyers and sellers against the backdrop of increased penetration of digital technology and new owners and investors coming into the Nigerian land market.
But the Chairman, NIESV Faculty of Estate Agency and Marketing; Mr. Sam Eboigbe, said although significant progress has been made , a lot still need to be done for Nigeria to compete with the rest of the world.According to him, right now, the online listing penetration is only about 20 percent, which is still meagre compared with the real estate potentials.He said estate surveyors and valuers are now being encouraged to list their property in the Multiple Listing Site, MLS, for members to have direct contact with buyers of real estate products.
Pastor Sam Eboigbe, pointed out that the website is for NIESV members nationwide to advertise lands and property in Nigeria and abroad, stressing that the scheme would redeem the already bastardised name of the sector and promote easy identification of the core professionals who will render truthful service.Also, the Chief Operations Officer of PropertyPro.ng, Mr Oladapo Eludire, noted that lots of real estate companies and agents are taking advantage of the online platforms in attaining more marketing reach and gaining growth in customer base.
According to him, a lot have jacked up their online marketing spend because of same reason. Yet, it is still perceived that there are not enough properties listed online in Nigeria.
Using the rental properties in Lagos as the sample size, he said, more than 65 percent of rental apartments in Lagos are priced below N500,000 as yearly rent. These apartments gets rented rapidly because they fall within the financial comfort zone of the average individual who resides in Lagos.
The apartments within this price bracket are rarely listed online by the property agents and owners because of their high volatility rate. Which means that there are more properties for sale and properties in the higher rent price point, which is just about 35 percent of available properties, being listed and marketed online. He stressed that very few of the lower price point properties are listed online.
This, he said , will only result to seeing less than 50 percent of available properties online. Eludire also pointed out low rate of internet savviness of real estate agents in Nigeria as reasons why the online listing is low. We still have a lot of agents who totally depend on the traditional and other outdated means of advertising. Some real estate agents still have the preconceived notion that online platforms are complex and expensive.
"We have been consistent in debunking this opinion. We have trained thousands of agents on how online platform can positively affect their businesses. PropertyPro.ng as continuously educate agents to see the online platform beyond an advertising tool for listing but also a platform to archive and manage property listings."
"This will help with data collection which can be used in making more informed decisions by real estate professionals.Awareness is key and fortunately, agents and real estate developers are becoming more aware of the role online platforms can play in growing their businesses. Overall, online listings in Nigeria are still far from what they could be but are continuously improving year in year out. We look forward to a time when the opportunities of the internet will be fully taken advantage of by the real estate industry and online listing figures will be a closer reflection of overall property listings in the country", he added.
Culled from The Guardian Newspaper, June 2018