iProperty Group – Driven by Innovation, Fueled by Passion

That’s right! We are driven by a strong focus for innovation and that drive is certainly fueled by passion. Now that we are in the sixth month of the year, I thought I would take a trip down memory lane over the happenings of the last five months.

We started off the year with the launch of our inaugural publication, Malaysia Top Property Developers 2011/2012. The 250-plus page limited edition publication, sold at RM 99 at leading bookstores, features 36 of the country’s top property developers, inspiration and concepts of their signature developments has received overwhelming response from the general public.

In February, we launched our new mobile strategy and development team. The formation of the new team was in line with our company’s objective of becoming an organisation that is mobile-first in its outlook.

The team has since been working towards developing highly innovative apps that would further enhance the property search experience for consumers.

In that same month, we also revealed the findings of our Asia Sentiment Survey Report which was very well received by the media. Conducted from November 2011 to January 2012 and gathering a total of 8,499 respondents, the first cross market online property survey of its kind revealed that despite the worldwide economic uncertainty, a majority of these survey respondents had optimistic views on the property market in Asia.

In March, we launched our REACH, ENGAGE and CONVERT campaign in Malaysia. The campaign was put together as a platform to provide customers the opportunity to reach and engage a wider target market of consumers into learning more about the property developments.

The team in Malaysia also successfully launched the very first MAPEX PENANG 2012 together with REHDA Penang. The three day EXPO raked in over RM 90 million in sales.

In Indonesia, the team rolled out our very first property ads tabloid named Rumah123.com Property Ads. This 32-page full colored monthly publication has been well received and is set to take Rumah123.com to greater heights as property hunters now have another avenue to search for properties and obtain the latest news in the property market. The publication also serves to provide agents and developers another platform to reach out to consumer and to generate more leads.

In Singapore, we introduced Howard, our friendly mascot. He is a patient, wise owl with a keen sense of hearing and listening. Howard invites consumers to “Be In The Know” about the property market and not be left behind.

Another buzz of exciting news that took place was the formation of our partnership with MediaCorp’s TODAY newspaper, the country’s largest free newspaper.

Another significant accomplishment that we achieved in March on the innovation front was when the Malaysian team won Best App at the Facebook Mobile Hack Day in Singapore. The team developed an app called the Property Friend Finder, which enables users to find properties that are near their friends and family.

In April, we announced our first quarter results, which revealed astounding success. The Group’s year-on-year growth comparison between Q1 2011 and Q1 2012 saw a 69.4% increase in unique visitors, a 58.5% increase in pageviews and a 59.6% increase in leads across our portals.

Moving on to the month of May, the team in Indonesia launched the biggest online marketing campaign ever to be held online. The campaign is set to give one lucky Indonesian an opportunity to win a house worth 500 million rupiah!

Since the launch, findings have revealed that the consumer metrics in May 2012 saw Rumah123.com emerge as the clear leader in property portal space in Indonesia with over a 33% leap in unique visitors in just one month as compared to April 2012.

We also emerged the clear leader in Hong Kong with the formation of strategic cooperation’s with key leading developers. GoHome.com.hk continues to outperform other local real estate portals with the highest traffic, user and listing figures, making us most effective online advertising platform.

IProperty.com.my continued to be the clear leader in Malaysia and was also recently ranked the world’s 3rd most dominant portal when compared to other competitor portals by Property Portal Watch. Our property magazine in Malaysia was also voted Property Magazine of the year from Advertising + Marketing for the third consecutive year.

We also expanded our family with the acquisition of vproperty.com, Macau’s leading property portal. The acquisition extends the reach of the Group in the region with the Macau based portal being managed by the iProperty Group’s GoHome.com.hk business.

It also gives me great pleasure to announce that our property search app has been named one of Australia’s most innovative products in the Anthill Magazine Smart 100 Index.

In May, we also launched CommercialAsia.com in Australia to offer property agents there an opportunity to showcase their commercial properties to Asia-Pacific investors.

Now, don’t you agree that the last five months have been filled with exciting things! Our achievements continue to extend our leadership position in all the countries that the iProperty Group operates in.

We are certainly looking forward to the next 6 months of the year!

Have a great weekend!

iProperty Puts Safety First

In the month of May, the world, in particularly Malaysia joint in the celebration in knowing that 12 year-old Nayati Moodliar was safely returned to his family unharmed, after being abducted and held captive for a week. While the celebrations continued and police worked towards capturing the perpetrators, the nation was once again shocked by the news of two female real estate agents that was raped and the other murdered within 24 hours last week.

In a report by New Straits Times recently, it was stated that barely 24 hours after real estate agent Chen Choi Mooi was found murdered in Batu Dam, Gombak, another real estate agent was stripped naked and tied up by her “prospective clients”. She was however successfully rescued by police, who was alerted by auxiliary policemen, who had been tipped off that the victim was held captive at a condominium in Mont Kiara.

We are deeply saddened by the news and would like to express our sincere condolences to the family of Chen Choi Mooi and to the other victim, it is our hope and prayer that you will be able to overcome the trauma and recover from the ordeal.

As such, we would like to urge all agents, regardless whether you are a male or female, to take all the necessary precautions to ensure your safety. We have outlined some safety tips here – Being Safe Matters – Tips and steps to be safe on the job.

Please remember that the smallest bit of prevention goes a long way in ensuring your own personal safety. Be safe!

On a different note, I am extremely happy to highlight that our year-to-date results in all the four countries in which we operate in have reported astounding growth.  

iProperty.com.my continues to be the clear leader in Malaysia and was also recently ranked the world’s 3rd most dominant portal when compared to other competitor portals by Property Portal Watch. The Malaysia business has and continues to achieve many milestones over the course of 2012.

In the first quarter of 2012, GoHome.com.hk has also successfully extended its lead in Hong Kong. The website continues to outperform other local real estate portals with the highest traffic, user and listing figures, making the most effective online advertising platform for local real estate and living sectors

Moving on the Indonesian market, we have also seen tremendous growth in both our portals, rumah123.com and rumahdanproperti.com, which we acquired in August last year. iProperty.com.sg continues to be the equal market leader and has established a clear position as a trusted source for information, property intelligence and buyer insights, in Singapore.

Another piece of exciting news that I wanted to share with you, was that we have expanded our family! The iProperty Group will soon be in Macau via the acquisition of vproperty.com, the country’s leading property portal. The acquisition extends the reach of the Group in the region with the Macau based portal being managed by the iProperty Group’s GoHome.com.hk business.

The portal currently generates revenue from local real estate agencies and property developers. It receives 50,000 consumer visits per month, generating 500,000 page impressions and has 60 registered agents as paying subscribers.

The success we achieved here, and continue to achieve, could not have been possible without your continuous support and believe in us as your trusted voice in all things property related. Thank you!

Have a great weekend!

 

iProperty Is The Talk of The Town in All Countries

What if I told you we were giving away a house for free? What if I told you that winning that house was as easy as 123? And no, we are not pulling your leg!  On Labour Day, the team in Indonesia, Rumah123.com, launched the biggest online marketing campaign ever to be held online. A campaign that is set to give one lucky Indonesian an opportunity to win a house worth 500 million rupiah! Now, isn’t that something to shout about?

Well, we certainly got the town talking and visitors flocking through our site to participate in this extremely hard to resist contest. So, if you are an Indonesian citizen, don’t be left out! Submit an entry NOW here! You could just be the lucky winner to move in to a brand new home!

In Malaysia, thousands of people are making their way to the iProperty.com Expo 2012 at the Mid Valley Exhibition Centre. Held from the 4th – 6th of May, the Expo features Malaysia’s Hottest Properties under one roof and it’s the only place for property buyers and investors to find irresistible deals on the latest developments in town. So, if you are on the hunt for that next investment or in the search for your dream home, then head down over today. The EXPO is opened from 11am – 8pm.

We look forward to seeing you there! There will even be lucky draw prizes worth over RM700,000 waiting to be won!

On a different note, we’re proud to have launched our newly revamped ThinkProperty.my website! You can now post your property for sale/rent for FREE and participate in our very popular property forums where you can ask and discuss your thoughts and opinions.

We are also the talk of the town in Hong Kong with the formation of strategic cooperation’s with key leading developers. The formation of these strategic partnerships with leading developers solidifies GoHome.com’s position as the clear market leader in Hong Kong.

Moving on to Singapore, the 5th International Property Expo which was held in the Marina Bay Sands from the 20th – 22nd of April was hugely successful. Consumers walked away with great deals and developers were extremely happy with the turnout and success of the event.

On a separate note, I was extremely happy to hear that Nayati Moodliar, the little boy who was abducted on the way to school last week, has been safely reunited with his parents. I can only imagine the anguish and trauma that the little child was put through. I was happy to read that he is well and high in spirits. You are brave boy and your courage is certainly to be admired!

Have a great weekend!

Malaysian Online Real Estate Market

With an online population that is still on the rise, Malaysia can be classified as an emerging market for property portals. The country had a population of 28.5 million as of May 2011, and Nielsen statistics from the end of 2010 put Internet penetration at 41 percent.

According to a number of different data sources, iProperty Group’s iproperty.com.my is the number one choice for Malaysia’s property hunters. Here, we’ll take a closer look at iproperty.com.my along with the other portals competing for a share of the Malaysian online real estate market.

Market Structure

iproperty.com.my is part of the iProperty Group network of Asian property portals run by IPGA Ltd, and has been under the management of Timothy Hor, previously of JobsDB Malaysia, since August 2010. According to statistics released by iproperty.com.my in March 2011, the portal has over 5,300 paying agent subscribers, and became profitable in 2010 with a 124 percent increase in revenue to MYR 11.8 million.

iproperty.com.my acquired competitor portal thinkproperty.com.my in mid-2010, and also has a list of partner websites including bernama.com, sinchew-i.com, lelong.my, mysimplifieds.com, malaysiakini.com, MSN Malaysia, and NST e-Media.

Google AdPlanner statistics from April 2011 provided by iproperty.com.my – comparing the top “pure play” property portals in Malaysia – place it and thinkproperty.com.my ahead of their rivals by a large margin:

  1. iproperty.com.my (520,000 unique visitors)
  2. thinkproperty.com.my (130,000)
  3. starproperty.my (120,000)
  4. propwall.my (120,000)

comScore statistics provided by iproperty.com.my show lower totals, but still place the portal at the top of the market with 277,000 unique visitors for April 2011. thinkproperty.com.my is again in second place with 92,000 unique visitors, followed by starproperty.my with 75,000. realestate.net.my is the next property portal on the list with 67,000 unique visitors, after which there is a large drop to 31,000 unique visitors for soufun.com.cn – a China-based real estate portal.

Alongside these portals, propertyguru.com.sg parent company Allproperty Media is also operating in Malaysia, having acquired free-to-list portal fullhouse.com.my in January 2011 and launched a new portal at homeguru.com.my in February. The launch of homeguru.com.my came as iProperty Group released a listing distribution channel at home-guru.com.my, sparking controversy between the two companies.

Business models

The subscription-based listing model supported by on-site advertising is common across the top four Malaysian property websites. iproperty.com.my sells listings to both agents and private sellers, offering advertising across its partner network, and sells on-site display advertising. starproperty.my offers a range of paid advertising options, as does propwall.my, and propwall.my also includes a free-to-list option.

“Malaysia in terms of an emerging market is becoming increasingly advanced,” says Shaun Di Gregorio, CEO of IPGA, in summing up the Malaysian marketplace. “If someone wanted to try to enter a market like Malaysia I’d say to them that you need to invest a lot in building relationships with agents because you want customers for the next 50 years – you want to be in the industry for a very long time. And at the same time, you really have to make sure that you’re providing consumers with a unique experience, and that involves being very very innovative.” – Property Portal Watch

iProperty.com Malaysia Consumer Trends Survey for the 2nd Half 2010

iProperty.com Malaysia (www.iproperty.com.my), Malaysia’s No.1 property website has released the results of the iProperty.com Consumer Trends Survey for the 2nd half of 2010.

The survey, conducted from October to December 2010, tracked consumers’ property purchase preferences over the 1st and 2nd half of 2010. A total of 1,069 people responded to the 20-question survey.

Key Points for 2H 2010:

  1. Bank Negara’s imposition of the 70% cap on LVR (Loan to Value Ratio) for third home mortgages onwards will likely affect about 40% of potential property buyers.
  2. Strong investors’ appetite for landed properties saw a 9% jump in interest in such properties resulting in the run-up in prices of such properties.
  3. Property prices within the range of RM200K – RM300K remained the most popular which ties in with the average annual household incomes of RM45K – RM80K earned by 27.7% of the respondents

Among the respondents, males outnumber females 7:3 while 85% of respondents were aged between 25 – 44 years. Almost 60% have a bachelor degree. About 40% work in executive/managerial positions, while 22% describe themselves as professionals. Ten percent are self-employed while 4.4% come from CEO or senior management ranks. Average annual household incomes range between RM45,000 and RM300,000, peaking in the RM100,000 – RM150,000 range.

What’s interesting is that one third of the respondents already own a property, while another one third do not yet own any property. About 20% own two properties while fewer than 10% own 3 properties. Another 10% own 4 or more properties. Out of these, 85% plan to purchase property within the next 12 months. This showed that Bank Negara’s imposition of the 70% cap on LVR (Loan to Value Ratio) for third home mortgages onwards will likely affect about 40% of potential property buyers.

Home buyers accounted for nearly half (49%) of the survey respondents in the second half of year 2010, followed by investors, who accounted for about one third (27%) of the total. This does not differ much from the 1H results. However, the percentage of investors declined from 31% to 27%. One of the reasons could be the 70% cap on LVR. Other respondents are property agents (8%), casual browsers (10%), tenants (5%), etc.

Comparison of Visitor Type in 1H and 2H of Year 2010

Market Motivation: Equal interest in the nest and the golden goose

The survey results indicate that 51% of the respondents checked out properties for own stay, a very slight decrease from 52% in the first-half of 2010. Meanwhile, investors accounted for 49% of the respondent pool with goals of reaping rental income (32%) and capital appreciation (17%).

Comparison of Property Purchase Motivation in 1H and 2H of Year 2010

Property Preference: Condos and landed properties still rule

The online search was still most popular with residential prospects namely condominiums (38%) and landed properties (56%), both new and resale. In the second half of 2010, the two categories accounted for over three quarters of the search activities by the portal users. Resale properties were preferred over new properties (49% resale to 45% new).

It is interesting to note that there was a marked increase of 9% in landed properties from the first-half to the second-half, jumping from 47% to 56%. This explains the huge price appreciations of subsale landed properties in 2H 2010 which is fuelled by strong investors’ appetite for such properties.

Meanwhile, commercial properties such as office, retail space, plantation land, etc. combined accounted for only 6% of the total interest in the second half of the year. Most notable is the acute decline in interest in retail spaces from 6% to just 2%. This is likely due to the huge supply in the market with several new shopping malls launched last year.

Comparison of Property Type Preference in 1H and 2H of Year 2010

Purchase Budget: RM200K – RM300K Properties are hot

Over 90% of the surveyed respondents opted for properties below RM1 million in various categories namely, Below RM 200K (14%), RM 200 – 300K (27%), RM 300K – 400K (19%), RM 400 -500K (17%), and RM 500K – 1 mil (17%).

Most participants expressed interest in properties within the price range of RM200K – RM300K. This ties in with the average annual household incomes of RM45K – RM80K earned by 27.7% of the respondents.

However, properties in the range of RM500K – RM1 mil showed a drastic decline of 5%. Again, this is possibly caused by the 70% LVR cap as investors avoid properties priced in this range. The limit does not seem to affect properties priced from RM1 mil onwards as the percentage of potential buyers for these properties remained constant throughout the 1st and 2nd half. This is not surprising considering that people looking at these properties are high net worth individuals who are not affected by the loan limit.

Comparison of Property Purchase Budget in 1H and 2H of Year 2010

Comparison of Top Five Search Areas in 1H and 2H of Year 2010
(Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Penang, and Johor)

Comparison of Top Five Search Areas in 1H and 2H of Year 2010

Kuala Lumpur

Among the hot property areas, Cheras, Ampang and Mont Kiara were on the top five list throughout the year of 2010. These are townships marked with rapid development of housing projects that emphasize a balanced lifestyle. In the first half of 2010, Puchong and Old Klang Road made the list. Coincidentally, both townships are situated southwest of the city centre with Puchong being slightly farther. They attract out of town residents due to their lower property prices and proximity to KL city centre.

Going into the second half of the year, Bangsar and Kepong climbed up to take the spots. Bangsar is an affluent neighbourhood just minutes away from Kuala Lumpur and its popularity among property buyers is understandable. Meanwhile, Kepong located in the north of KL is seeing an increasing number of residential projects launched there. It is near a green lung and is highly accessible via various highways.

Selangor

The top five search areas for the state were consistent throughout year 2010. The townships that attracted most interests were Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya, Shah Alam, Puchong and Kota Damansara. Interestingly, the first three, namely Petaling Jaya, Subang Jaya and Shah Alam are lined up along the Federal Highway running east-west. It is an indication that buyers who are considering one of them could be interested to look into the other two. Location wise, these townships are within convenient driving distance to the city centre, roughly within the range of 15 to 30 kilometers. The social and economic interests of these aspiring buyers are clearly concentrated in the Klang Valley.

Penang

The three ultimate hot spots in year 2010 for the Penang state are Butterworth, Tanjung Bungah and Bayan Lepas. These townships made the top five list throughout the year. Butterworth is located in Seberang Prai in Penang Mainland. Meanwhile, Tanjung Bungah and Bayan Lepas are bustling townships on the Penang Island.

Other island townships that made the top search list were Batu Feringgi, Gelugor, and unsurprisingly Georgetown, which saw renewed interest due to its heritage status and urban renewal projects. Notably, Bukit Mertajam joined the top list in the second half of the year. It is the capital of Seberang Prai and is located not far from Kulim, Kedah state. This is likely due to the spillover of interest from Penang island.

Johor

Generally speaking, the interest areas for Johor buyers are fairly consistent throughout year 2010, and are all located on the west coast or around Johor Bahru, the state capital. The top four on the top five list for the year are Johor Bahru, Skudai, Gelang Patah and Batu Pahat. Meanwhile, Muar and Kulai joined the list respectively in the first and second half of the year due to new projects announced there. Location-wise, Johor Bahru, Skudai, Gelang Patah and Kulai, which are all part of Iskandar region are due for a resurgence due to it many catalytic projects coming onstream from next year.

The results of the iProperty.com Consumer Trends Survey 2nd Half 2010 combine the findings of an online survey conducted by iProperty.com Malaysia with internal search data extracted from the same website.

Commenting on the survey, Timothy Hor, Country Manager of iProperty.com Malaysia said: “The results once again confirmed several known aspects of our property market – that interest in landed properties remains strong, and that properties worth RM200K – RM300K are the most sought after by the majority of property hunters comprising almost one third of the sample. This is not surprising given that the annual income bracket of RM45K – RM80K is the most common among the respondents.”

On Bank Negara’s imposition of the 70% cap on LVR (Loan to Value Ratio) for third home mortgages onwards, Hor revealed that based on the results, the move will likely affect about 40% of potential property buyers.