While the North American real estate experience flows through the MLS, in central America the process of marketing and selling homes is still hampered by a lack of reliable data.
While some markets south of the US-Mexico border are dominated by horizontal players that market everything from barbecues to condominiums, in the US and Canada specialist vertical portals dominate. We looked at the stats from Similarweb to see which are the top portal websites in North and Central America...
The Canadian real estate market is one of very few around the world in which the dominant website for home hunters is owned by an association of agents.
Realtor.ca is owned and operated by the Canadian Real Estate Association and takes its listings directly from the MLS. Although DuProprio is strong in the French-speaking region and REW is strong on the West Coast, Realtor.ca is the clear market leader nationally.
Since it bought out its main competitor Trulia in 2015, Zillow has been the market-leading property website in the USA.
Recently though the big blue giant has started to see increased competition. Realtor.com (which is operated by the National Association of Realtors and owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corp) has been gaining ground when it comes to traffic and commercial real estate player CoStar has been investing heavily in residential portals with Zillow in its sights.
Since we last looked at the traffic of property portals in Mexico things have changed. In 2020 eBay-owned Vivanuncios was just about ahead in terms of visits on Similarweb. Since then, Vivanuncios has been sold to Adevinta and its rival Inmuebles24 (operated by the Argentinian portal operating company Navent) has pulled clear.
While, according to Google Trends, Vivanuncios is a more popular search term in the provinces, Inmuebles24 tends to do better in the major cities.
Most websites for property in Belize seem to be catering to foreign buyers and brokerage websites like Century21 are prominent in Google's search results.
In terms of what we might call a true property portal, the Canadian-owned Point2Homes comes out on top.
Other property sites in the Central American countries look pretty run-down in comparison to the Panamanian run Encuentra24 website which is also a horizontal site for cars, jobs and general classified ads.
Since OLX announced a joint venture with Encuentra24 in the region there is little disputing the top website is for real estate in the region. Although Argentinian-owned Mercado Libre has a presence in the region it is not on the same scale.