There is a new property portal player in the UAE after the official launch late last week of houza.com. The new portal is the product of several of the country’s leading agency groups coming together to build a new portal to cater to both the residential and commercial market and list rental as well as sale property.
Since the merger of the parent companies of Bayut and Dubbizle in April and PropertyFinder’s purchase of JustProperty the portal market in the country has been very consolidated with options for agents’ listings limited. houza has been created to give agents more choice according to CEO Barry Judge:
“We wanted to provide greater choice for agencies and as a result, deliver more leads and revenue opportunities. This turbulent period was a moment of realisation for many agencies and seeing them align with our vision to build a solution together has been overwhelming”
The former Dubbizle boss will take on his new role at houza during a slowdown in the national market in the Emirates and will hope that the competitive rates on tertiary software, reduced fees for which the portal says it will be able to negotiate collectively, and free access to some proptech tools will differentiate houza’s offering at a time where many will be looking to cut costs.
The creation of an agent backed portal along the lines of OnTheMarket in an affluent market such as The UAE is interesting but perhaps not surprising given the parallels to the UK market. Agent dissatisfaction in The UAE had been growing throughout 2020 and in April several agencies removed their listings from PropertyFinder after the portal initially refused to make pandemic price concessions -a similar move saw Rightmove panned by commentators-.
Much like OnTheMarket in The UK, houza doesn’t seem to be promising anything radically different from the incumbent portals, but rather an agents-first approach and a bit more competition. Speaking around the launch of houza, the Founder and CEO of prominent agency group D&B Properties Husni Al Bayari said:
“You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, just improve it so when it comes to property, who better than the industry experts — the best minds with a united objective — to improve the portal business?”