The present internet penetration in India is 25 million, this figure is going to be 50 million by 2020 and India would be the second largest in the World. As per Google 8 million people search for property online in India, out of these 50% are potential buyers. By 2018, 20 million users would be searching for property online in India, this implies that 10 million of potential investors would be using internet to shortlist property. These figures highlight that India has a huge potential for online real estate market, which needs to be tapped. Real estate websites in India need to take into account this aspect and come up with ingenious products which meet the end user expectations and requirements.
In 2013, 60% of internet users were less than 25 years of age and by 2018, 50% of internet users would be more than 25 years of age. This implies that the presence of potential real estate buyers in India on the internet is going to increase year on year. Real estate in India is also eying a year on year growth of 25% in online sales. With such huge potential and untapped market, the real estate and property websites in India need to take on the challenge and grow the online resources so as to meet the end user requirement.
At present real estate and property websites in India, in their exuberance to capture more end users, try and cater to the entire spectrum of real estate; i.e. from primary to secondary and from residential to commercial; thus there is no specialisation and it is free for all. Almost all the real estate property websites in India follow two models. (a) Extract information from the user by having property listings, primarily catering to the secondary market (resale). (b) Tying up with real estate developers and list their projects. These two methods also work as their business models.
Real estate and property websites in India based on the above two models merely provide platforms to end users, brokers and developers to either post their properties or projects.
There is a requirement to move on and look at mechanisms to enhance the end users experience by providing insights and analysis. This can happen only if the real estate websites in India move onto an ‘information based’ model and look at specializing in one specific market, like residential primary market or commercial secondary market. At present these websites seem to following the quote ‘jack of all trades and a master of none’. If this aspect is not implemented in the near future, real estate and property websites in India can forget at capturing the interest of the potential investor, towards online purchase of property. The internet penetration would definitely increase, however the real estate sector in India would once again be left behind in this technology race. It is a unprecedented opportunity for real estate websites in India to herald technology and transparency into a sector which has always shied away from it.