Jamie Pujara, CEO of Buyrentkenya, says his firm is steadying itself for a property boom in the African region.
“We're very bullish about the real estate sector in Kenya,” he told Property Portal Watch.
“It continues to show year on year growth at close to 7 percent, and now accounts for just under 10 percent of total GDP.
“We have all the hallmarks of a potential property boom including a growing middle class, a housing supply deficit, sustained investment in infrastructure and political devolution which is leading to development in the smaller towns and cities.
Pujara said Kenya's penetration now stands at 60 percent up from 35 percent in 2013.
“We're in a great situation to position ourselves as the property portal of choice in Kenya and reap the benefits of the growing sector,” he said.
Pujara, who recently won a free ticket to Property Portal Watch’s upcoming Madrid conference, said Buyrentkenya’s point of difference was that it was the only locally-owned site in the region.
“This allows our platform to be flexible and adapt faster to local conditions,” he said. “For instance we're developing a payments platform which allows our agents to pay us through mpesa (mobile money) which is extremely popular here.”
Buyrentkenya was launched in August 2012 and Pujara told PPW it was difficult at first to educate the market and to convince clients why online advertising made sense.
“Once they understood that, it was about getting them to post quality listings and match customer expectations and to clean up outdated and inaccurate listings,” he said.
“Now it's about bringing more professionalism and getting individual brokers to match the standards of the established agencies.”
The big challenges in the industry, said Pujara, is knowing when to adjust your business model but also keeping up with technology and trends.
“We recently began moving away from a strictly pay to advertise model, and have integrated options of pay per lead and pay by transaction especially with our developer market,” he said.
“We see social media becoming a bigger player in our market both in terms of advertising and as a direct competitor through property groups on their platforms and it's important we are able to leverage this or we risk losing some of the gains we have made.”