13 Apr 2016 12:55 IST

Realty portals yet to home in on sales

Users search extensively on web, but stick to acquiring property offline

Online home buying is still at a nascent stage, with activity limited to search and discovery. However, with increased digital penetration and the evolving of alternative customer acquisition models, real estate experts expect to witness ‘pure online’ property transactions happening soon.

Said Vineet Relia, Managing Director, SARE Homes: “For builders who were traditionally restricted to brokers, it is a good medium to ensure a wider reach. A consumer researches micro markets at home while the actual transaction happens offline. The online medium can generate leads, but a physical meeting is required as homes are not standardised products.”

Last week, property consultancy JLL India launched its Online Home Fest, a web-based sales event for residential properties.

Ashwinder Raj Singh, CEO - Residential Services, JLL India, said: “There is a considerable surge in online home search in the last five years, However, in terms of outright online buying, it is still at a nascent stage, though there are developers, such as the Tatas, who have tasted initial success.

“As we move on to a more matured digital age, a sizeable amount of revenue will be coming from pure online sales.”

JLL India had earlier announced a two-year partnership with online marketplace Snapdeal.

'While there is little data available on the trends in real estate activity online, Mudassir Zaidi, National Director - Residential Agency, Knight Frank, India, said: “It is a given that people don’t buy houses online.

“The real estate market currently is a mix of online and offline activity. A player who can take away the uncertainty component of buying real estate will do well in the online space.”

Challenges remain

However, while most builders are ensuring their presence online, and portals are ramping up activities, many challenges remain.

“There are challenges like information arbitrage and asymmetry, and absence of credible pricing data, which will have to be handled,” Singh said.

“We need to see a player who has last mile connectivity and can generate trust in buyers,” Relia added.

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