The Indian real estate sector is expected to touch around $180 billion by 2020. Just the housing sector contributes around 5-6% to the country’s GDP. The sector is being greatly benefited by services provided by committed online platforms like 99acres.com, makaan.com, housing.com, commonfloor.com, indiaproperty.com, grabhouse.com, quikrhomes.com, sulekha.com, proptiger.com and propertywala.com.
The business model
Brokers and brokerages are intricately linked with the sector and costumers traditionally depended on them for their trustworthiness or to reduce time consumption. To ignore prolonged brokerage negotiations, more and more real estate consumers are taking to online portals to search for properties. People mostly search for listed verified properties. Online portals arrange for real time meetings and conversations between consumers and property promoters. The business model of these portals is mostly advertisement driven. Additionally, they cut a nominal proportion from the customers for the rendered services.
The Great Online Shopping Festival organised by Google was a great success for real estate portals. Tata Value Homes, a subsidiary of Tata Housing Development, sold over 50 flats registering sale of over Rs. 25 crore during the Great Online Shopping Festival of 2013. According to a press release by Tata Housing, out of the over 50 sold apartments, around 40% were in tier II cities. The 2014 Great Online Shopping Festival partnered with realty portal 99acres.com. More than 200 builders across 20 cities took part in this initiative with over 300 exciting deals and offers. Real estate portal magicbricks.com had collaborated with Google for the Great Online Home Festival of 2015.
Advantages of online portals
An online real estate portal provides a wide range of choices. It makes comparing properties simpler. Registering on these portals is easy and saves valuable time. These portals offer special discounts which are not available offline. Some recognised portals provide personalised recommendations and suggestions factoring in consumer choices. Facilities like map-based search is available on almost all online portals that helps to locate nearby hospitals, roads, malls, cinema halls, schools, parks, ATMs and other important facilities. Online portals have come out with an application called virtual 3D tour. The feature uses visualisation software that shows details like floor plan, room height and enables a 360 degree 3D view.
Different online portals have grown variedly, based on their marketing strategies and customer reach. Sudhir Pai, CEO, magicbricks.com, informed the media, “We have posted a strong revenue growth of 48% in the first quarter of 2018-19 financial year at Rs. 47.5 crore. We have now aggregated about 80% of all supply and about 60% of all buyers in the market. About 45% of all landlord listings on magicbricks are now exclusive to us.” The platform has also introduced new sales solutions for developers and brokers. Sharing an overall revenue outlook of the company, Pai added that they are achieving more than 50% growth every year and the figure is growing gradually. Other realty portals are also developing well.