Lamudi and other online real estate platforms are gradually driving change in the real estate market in Nigeria. An increasing number of Nigerians are going online to buy or rent properties potentially opening a fresh vista of vast options for many people in terms of location, price and choice. In the last count, hundreds of real estate sites targeting the Nigerian market exists but many of them are not active and really offer little to visitors. But several are quite active, interactive and bring much value to visitors.
The deals are climbing up as more people are beginning to trust online real estate transactions. Such transactions reduce the risk of falling prey to an army of real estate fraudsters in Nigeria’s notoriously inept real estate sector where con artists easily pull off a fast one against desperate clients. Now, via a simple click, prospective house buyers or those seeking to rent a property, could ascertain the genuineness and real value of such a property. Besides, web visuals of the properties allow views to have a good view of the house without a physical visit. Some sites even offer video images of their prime properties.
“Without leaving your front door; with greater trust and greater choice, we are seeing a significant upsurge in online activity around private property transactions. A good indicator of this trend is our experience on our site where we have seen a 50% increase in visits in the last two months alone
“We are seeing an ever growing conversion rate of visitors moving from just viewing to contacting our partner agents to either rent or buy their advertised properties. We are also seeing customers becoming ever more discerning in making their choices, with buyers’ increasingly choosing to follow up on properties providing detailed descriptions and multiple visuals/images,” said Managing Director of Lamudi Nigeria, Mr. Obi Ejimofo, whose firm has used web presence to sharply remodel how people engage in the real estate sector.
According to Mr. Owolabi Olatunji, chief executive officer of Hutbay.com, an online portal for real estate companies: “a large portion of agents still depends on the printed media as a way to market their properties [since] less than three percent of agents are, as at January 2014, are using any online real estate marketplace.”
But in spite of this, Ejimofo thinks the future of the real estate sector is the in internet and the ability of its practitioners to leverage this technology will impact significantly on all stakeholders. His words: “I see far more opportunities for growth in the online real estate market than challenges. We are seeing tremendous growth and we have only just started in the sector. If there is one challenge to uptake, I would say it is in pricing. At the moment, this is a seller’s market. However, I strongly believe that as we gain more transparency on the actual demand and buyer willingness by city, area and property type, we will see seller’s becoming more responsive in their pricing which will in turn attract more buyer activities as we will now have the magic combination of great choice, improving trust and demand-driven pricing.”
As an online platform, Hutbay.com, is promoting a one stop shop for all real estate companies by providing a single website where buyers and sellers can meet and make deals. Hutbay.com has developed innovative mobile and web applications to drive its business model of bringing properties to the marketplace; and connecting real estate professionals to drive their business goals.
It’s CEO, Olatunji, told IT Edge News: “The real estate industry in Nigeria is the fastest growing real estate corridor in Africa and has massive potential for growth with 17 million housing deficits and a growing, educated and middle class. Hutbay is contributing to the real estate sector by increasing access to vital information on real estate and making it super easy to find property and connect with reputable agents.
“The stress Nigerians still go through in order to find their ideal property is just too bad to put into words, despite the country’s advances in telecommunications. So we ventured into this simply to solve a problem. We were the first to develop mobile apps for the real estate industry on the Windows and Android platform. We have a mission to make it super easy to find a property and connect with reputable real estate firms in Nigeria from anywhere, anytime and through any connected device.”