Leboncoin Real Estate Marketing Director Aurélien Flament has opened up on the changing real estate experience in a revealing interview with French publication Journal de l'Agence.
In a Q&A spanning the war in Ukraine, virtual tours and the pre- vs post-pandemic world, Flament spoke candidly about the French real estate market and his forecasts for the next year.
Online Marketplaces picked out his best bits so you don't have to...
The first half of the year was "schizophrenic".
Leboncoin saw a decline of around 17% in the first quarter of the year. However, it is not because there is a depletion of stocks that our audience is declining. Today, we record between 12 and 13 million unique visitors, including 5m-6m who are exclusive—who only use our site.
We register 30 million unique visitors registered each month, with half of them frequenting the section dedicated to real estate.
The French are therefore still looking—even if some property candidates have had to postpone their project due to the economic situation.
We hope that the drop in the volume of buyers will loosen mortgage rates and bring content back to our advertising portal. This is also likely to upset some real estate professionals, who will have to share smaller pieces of the cake.
2022 should be a very good year on the real estate front, even better than 2019 which was a record year. However, the second half of 2022 is closely correlated to the situation in Ukraine.
The conflict has destabilized the purchasing power of the French, thus slowing down the volume of transactions.
If it bogs down, it could create a form of inertia in the market, especially if the stock market deteriorates suddenly.
The pandemic has been a catalyst for change in the real estate experience—customer journeys, in particular those of the agent networks, have become more digital.
Now that individuals have understood that several stages of pre-sales can take place remotely, we are going to provide more services. We are going to allow tenants to create an online file to send it directly to landlords. In 2023, rental management tools for individuals renting their property by themselves should also see the light of day.
Finally, we are thinking about offering services related to financing, insurance, moving, etc.
This is only the beginning.
We had made the choice before the health crisis not to prioritize the virtual tour market, which at the time was not yet concrete. We have since noticed that this “pre-visit” approach allows owners to save time and sate buyers' curiosity.
The virtual tour was therefore naturally deployed on leboncoin in the last quarter of 2021. The use could become widespread, especially since video capture tools are now accessible from a simple smartphone and the target – buyers – is now mature.
However, we are wondering about the urgency of further developing the virtual tour, 3D plans and video on our portal, even though the more "basic" tools are still fulfilling their mission effectively.
We are still waiting for a revitalization. Over the past five years, commercial offers have decreased by around 30%. It's time for it to start again.
One should not over-promise about the projections that data analytics can make. But yes, it is thanks to our algorithms that we can determine when real estate professionals can contact individuals.
The advantage of our portal is that it is generalist. This means that we support our users at all stages of their life, not just when they acquire real estate, as is the case with our competitors. This positioning allows us to study their geographic mobility before it occurs. When a Parisian user is actively looking for a job in Marseille, we know that the next step will be dedicated to finding accommodation, for example.
We are committed to nurturing the relationship between sellers and buyers. We want to help professionals optimize their prospecting and capture new customers when they publish ads on our portal.
Generally, real estate agents who freelance on leboncoin are poorly received by individuals. The tool that we want to develop aims to help them identify the best time to contact these individuals, thus optimizing their chances of success.
This is all the more relevant since 80% of individuals use leboncoin to enhance their property and 60% of them end up working with a real estate professional to sell or rent it.