The Middle Eastern real estate marketing scene is still dominated in many cases by horizontal general classifieds players with big brand loyalty and powerful network effects.
Specialist property portals are gaining market share however and both EMPG and Propetyfinder are two examples of companies in the region that have had success while specialising in online real estate marketplaces.
In May the leading portal in Turkey changed its name to Hepsiemlak after 15 years of sharing its name with its parent, the publishing company Hurriyet (the traffic on Similarweb is still under the old name though). According to company CEO Theo Mseka, Hepsiemlak still has a lot of growth ahead of it despite being the market leader.
Run by the company Top.ge which also runs an auto portal, marketplace site and several other sites. Myhome beats fellow Georgian portal Place.ge to top spot.
Much like in neighbouring Georgia, the top portal in Azerbaijan is part of a group of portal and classifieds sites. Bina.az is the most popular portal and is run by the same people who run the top job (Boss.az) and car (Turbo.az) portals as well.
In terms of purely real estate vertical websites, Estate.am seems to be the leader in Armenia. Horizontal player List.am is very strong in the country though and a big brand in Armenia for all kinds of classifieds.
The Syrian version of Jordanian-headquartered imena’s classifieds site OpenSooq seems to be where Syrians go to buy and sell property in the absence of OLX or any dedicated property portals in the country.
Horizontal OLX Lebanon may well have more traffic overall, but it’s tough to tell which categories that traffic is from. UAE based Propertyfinder bought realestate.com.lb in 2013 and can be considered the country’s biggest specialist property portal.
On researching property portals in Israel we found a very high number of sites ranking highly on Google but then leading to error pages. Marketplace site Yad2.co.il has a lot of traffic, but Madlan.co.il seems to the top specialist portal in the country.
In 2019 EMPG-owned Bayut bought out Lamudi, which was controlled by Berlin-based Rocket Internet, to become the most important property portal in Jordan.
Neither Bayut nor Propertyfinder dominates in Saudi Arabia. The top spot goes to Riyadh based AQAR which had over 1.75 million sessions in September according to Similarweb.
Again, the general classified sites OLX and Opensooq are big here, but as for dedicated property portals, the prize goes to Propertyfinder.bh.
Another gulf state in which Propertyfinder seems to be the only legitimate specialist property portal in town. Shout out to Boshamlan.com though which has my favourite logo of any property portal.
The marketplace site seems to be the place where Kuwait goes to buy and sell property. As for specialist portals, there are a couple but we can hardly include them on this list as Similarweb says they have fewer than 5000 visits per month.
It's tight at the top between Propertyfinder and EMPG-owned Bayut. Bayut's stablemate the horizontal classifieds site Dubbizle is also a big player in the UAE.
Once again the marketplace site triumphs in a less developed market. OpenSooq seems to be the only site worth using to find property in Yemen.
Oman is another market where horizontal players like OLX and OpenSooq are big. In terms of specialist property verticals though, locally owned Mawa.om is the market leader and the closest thing to a coherent looking property portal.
Another Arab country that does its property shopping on OpenSooq. Although there are some rudimentary local portals such as Dallal.online, none have anything like the traffic that OpenSooq has in Iraq.
Iran is another Middle eastern market where a horizontal classifieds player dominates. Divar.ir is a huge presence in the country where consumers can buy anything from houses to rugs to bicycles
There are several specialist property verticals in Iran though and they all have slightly different business models. Last year saw the previous leader Ihome go out of business leaving Kilid as the biggest portal in terms of traffic. Other notable portals in the country include Shabesh which has a business model which involves getting involved in property transactions.