Millennials, digital technology change the property market

In Photo: Cebu properties

MILLENNIALS and the use of online technology such as the property portals are the major developments in the Philippine property sector. It is regarded as one of the country’s last remaining offline-focused industries.

In a recent press briefing, Dot Property Philippines reported that it received more than 1 million visits in both May and June this year, underscoring the public’s willingness to use the Internet in searching for a new home.

Dot Property Philippines Country Manager Tanya Peralta-Yu (from left), Dot Property Group COO and Founder Neil Sutton and Dot Property Group Editor in Chief Cheyenne Hollis

Tanya Peralta-Yu, country manager for Dot Property Philippines, also pointed out that millennials are leading this shift. She said more than 60 percent of property searches on the Dot Property Philippines site in June this year came from users aged 25 to 36. Millennials, who already comprise the majority of the Philippine work force today, will account for 70 percent of the labor force by 2030.

“The real-estate industry is moving online. This is a global trend and Filipinos have been quick to join, especially millennials,” Yu said.

“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,” Yu added.

She said the online visitors of Dot Property Philippines aren’t simply “window shopping,” but are willing to reach out to a seller directly if they find a property they like. Yu pointed out the number of leads (when a person looks for a specific property) posted a significant increase this year as it rose 33 percent in May and 26 percent in June when compared to the same period in 2017.

The company expects both visits and leads to increase during the rest of the year as the integration of real estate with Internet and social media provides people with easier access to property listings. There are now 67 million Internet users in the Philippines but a survey from Hootsuite found that many more Filipinos will gain online access in the years to come.

Yu said that property portals will continue to grow with more people coming online and an increase in millennial 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 explained.

Building partnerships

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

Dot Property Philippines recently added home listings in the Philippines from the Mitula Group, its parent company, to the web site. The merging of the two sites broadens the options of Filipino home buyers to find the ideal home. 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.

Moreover, Dot Property Philippines formed a partnership with the Zobel-controlled Bank of the Philippine Islands. The properties for sale under Dot Property are exclusively promoted on BPI’s Housing Loans web page along with a mortgage calculator for the customer’s convenience. BPI’s Housing Loans options are promoted on Dot Property’s web site. There are also special home-loan offers that are not available on other property portals.

“We are so much more than a web site with property for sale. For agents and developers, Dot Property Philippines is the partner who empowers them with the ability reach more potential home buyers. For users, we are the place where they can easily find the best properties at the best price. These are exciting times for the Filipino real-estate sector and we’re proud to be at the forefront of this evolution,” Yu concluded.

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Rizal Raoul S. Reyes has covered technology, science, business, property and special reports. He had working stints with the Business Star, Manila Bulletin and Independent Daily News.