Does a newspaper really have the expertise to run a real estate portal? There are reasonably big portals out there that are run by newspaper companies, none of them is as big or important as Indian market-leader MagicBricks.
A deal to buy MagicBricks would consolidate the market just as a critical mass of its agents become sophisticated enough to have online marketing budgets and its users increasingly go online to hunt for a new place to live.
Simon Baker's verdict: The Indian market is rapidly growing and very attractive. Portal plays such as 99acres and Magicbricks dominate the eyeballs in the Indian market however monetisation through advertising models has always been challenging. Digital transaction businesses, such as Square Yards, are likely to be the future of real estate marketing in emerging markets."
AVIV Group is the division of German publishing giant Axel Springer that operates its real estate classifieds portals. It already has Luxembourg based atHomeGroup in a geographical sandwich between SeLoger (French market leader) and Immowelt (German #2).
If the rumours are to be believed then diversified Indian real estate marketplace business Square Yards is planning to go public and is looking to raise 1,000 Crore INR (around $134 million) in doing so.
With its recent acquisitions, Square Yards has shown that it is not afraid to branch out and diversify while Nestaway is still operating in a competitive market against the likes of NoBroker and OYO (the Indian hotel booking portal about to IPO at a $9 billion valuation) and could use a boost.
Simon Baker's verdict: I really like the Square Yards business. It operates in the digital real estate transaction space and accesses the commission revenue stream. I believe that this is the future of online real estate marketing and the traditional marketing businesses, like REA and 99acres, will either move into the transaction space or will become less relevant.
Schibsted is the giant Norwegian publishing company that spun off Adevinta and which has the Norwegian classifieds market absolutely sewn up already. Boliga is an independent Danish company that runs several real estate portal sites including #2 portal Boliga.dk.
Having looked through them all last year for our Portal Standards Report, we can say with confidence that real estate vertical marketplace sites with good UX and up to date listings in Africa are like humble venture capitalists on Linkedin - very rare.
Nnamdi Chineme and the team at Lexel Digital are to be applauded for having built five such portals across Africa. Despite not having a big name backer, Nigeria Property Centre is the market leader in terms of traffic according to Similarweb - above the likes of Private Property (ROAM), Property24 (Naspers) and PropertyPro (Frontier Digital Ventures).
Nigeria Property Centre has been operational since 2011 and you have to think that soon the company and its investors will be rewarded as the property market matures and EBITDA margins for similar companies in similar markets (such as FDV's West Africa operations shown below) approach positivity.
Whether QuintoAndar, Lifull or anyone else would want to buy anything in Venezuela is doubtful given the troubles there but in PortalInmobiliario.com in Chile, any potential buyer might well be on to a winner as the site has long been a market leader in terms of traffic. 2b1af7f3a8