It's one of the biggest product roundups in Online Marketplaces' history. After a hiatus for this year's Property Portal Watch in Bangkok, here's an update of all the biggest and best product launches from around the world.
British market leader Rightmove is introducing a new tool called Track My Property, which is aimed at homeowners who are not actively looking to sell their property but want to stay informed about its estimated value.
Created with the input of agents, much like its counterpart from failed portal Boomin, the tool will be launched in Rightmove’s sold prices section by the end of May. It will offer an estimated range of the value of the property, calculated using a machine learning model that includes previous sold price data and Rightmove data.
The tool will educate homeowners about the difference between an online estimate and an expert market appraisal from an agent, encouraging them to seek professional advice when they are ready to sell. The research conducted among homeowners revealed that they expect a quick online valuation for their home and would like regular updates to help them determine when to move.
James Bassil, product director at Rightmove, said that the tool would be gradually rolled out to reach homeowners at the appropriate stage of their research journey and promote agents as the experts in providing an accurate valuation.
Although it will no doubt be popular among homeowners, Rightmove is somewhat late to the party with its valuation tool. Rival Zoopla has had success marketing its own valuation tracking tool over the last few years and in a study of 50 leading portal companies around the world back in 2021, OnlineMarketplaces found that two-thirds of them already had some kind of valuation tool.
Korean proptech company ZigBang is set to launch a new data analytics product for its business customers this March.
Dubbed Zigbang RED (Real Estate Data), the new product provides subscribers with exclusive, Zigbang-owned data that analyzes prices for commercial and residential properties.
The data analyses how individual properties compare against five key infrastructures, including proximity to schools, hospitals, public transport, shopping, and culture, on a national scale.
Zigbang RED uses machine learning to self-calculate potential house prices, with Korean publication ET News stating that the proposed target market for the new product will be large construction companies and developers interested in investment opportunities.
OnTheMarket has once again updated its suite of tools to make it easier for agents to qualify buyer leads.
Changes include a new "I'm serious" tool that gives highly motivated buyers a more tailored search experience, while also boosting their visibility to agents when making an enquiry.
Users who tag themselves as "Serious" have to enter their details but will unlock a number of beneficial features that let them, among other things, make one-click enquiries for properties and a time-saving lead creation for relevant agents.
A new MyLists option also lets users organise and save their favourite properties in curated lists to keep track of the properties they are most interested in.
The U.S. rental portal Zumper, has launched a new user subscription product. FlexPass is a loyalty program tailored to digital nomads, travelling workers, and short-term renters who move frequently for work.
The idea behind the product is to simplify the paperwork and logistical challenges for renters of furnished and fully equipped apartments and create a hassle-free experience. By paying an annual fee of $300, customers can explore different cities within the Zumper marketplace without leases, security deposits, or hidden fees.
After registering, users indicate their location and timing preferences and receive a curated list of available properties. Zumper books the selected properties and offers a concierge service for questions or concerns, as well as the assurance of alternative units if needed.
Zumper initially focused on long-term rental options, but due to changes in consumer behaviour during the pandemic, it expanded its short-term inventory. Searches for short-term rentals on the site rose from 5% before the pandemic to 33% in 2021 and remained at 30% in the summer of 2022.
Zumper is the largest privately-owned rental marketplace in the U.S., and it sees FlexPass as a marketplace for living rather than travelling, and as such not a competitor of Booking.com and other online travel agencies.
Below: watch our 2021 interview with Zumper COO Vishal Makijani.
Real estate marketplace Lamudi Indonesia, owned by Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), has signed a cooperation agreement with Bank Mandiri to offer mortgage referrals.
Under the agreement, Lamudi and Bank Mandiri will collaborate to enhance the financial literacy of potential homebuyers, by assisting them with credit scoring, document verification, understanding loan terms and conditions, and calculating monthly instalments.
Lamudi's CEO, Mart Polman, stated that the majority of users of Lamudi.co.id choose the mortgage payment method when buying a house and that the company's end-to-end services are aimed at improving the financial literacy of homebuyers. Lamudi reports that the approval rate for mortgage applications submitted through it stood at 52% between June and December 2022.
UK-based prospecting platform Homesearch has launched a new landlord lead generator that it believes will increase instructions for lettings agents.
The company says the new tool is a cost-effective way of attracting landlords to its ever-growing database, whereby letting agents using the tool will be able to offer landlords agent-branded, white-labelled rental reports.
The reports will capture landlords' names, email addresses and phone numbers, all of which will be sent directly back to agents.
Reports will include information such as fair rental prices for their property, a check on whether their properties' EPC ratings are legally compliant, and they can see other comparable properties.
Giles Ellwood, CEO at Homesearch, said:
“The real beauty of this tool is that lettings agents can save money whilst also generating more landlord leads than ever before. It requires no heavy lifting and all an agent has to do is share one unique link through their existing marketing activity.”
Homesearch was recently included in Online Marketplaces' UK Challengers analysis. Now an agent marketing solution, the company started out as a free-to-list portal but pivoted away from the model to focus more heavily on data and marketing.
The Adevinta-owned Spanish real estate portal Fotocasa has signed an exclusive agreement with the insurance firm Grupo Mutua Propietarios.
Under the partnership, Grupo Mutua Propietarios will provide landlord and home insurance solutions to Fotocasa's users. Landlord insurance will cover property owners in case of non-payment of rent by tenants and provide legal support if the owner decides to evict them.
The agreement replaces Fotocasa's previous partnership with French insurance specialist Lovys which was signed almost exactly a year ago.
Finnish rental site Vuokraovi has launched a new sister site, Asuntoneuvos.com, that provides a digital toolkit for landlords and property investors.
Users can use the toolkit to sign rental agreements electronically, chase rental payments, and provide housing market data that estimates a property's potential rental yield and selling price.