The PropertyGuru Group has completed the acquisition of iProperty Malaysia as the south-east Asia property technology company targets further expansion.
It now owns all the shares in REA Group Ltd’s entities in Malaysia and Thailand, including iProperty and Brickz.my in Malaysia, and thinkofliving.com and Prakard.com in Thailand.
REA Group's divestment in Thailand has been on the cards since 2021, but it has taken approximately 18 months for PropertyGuru to complete the acquisition—and nearly a year since PropertyGuru's flotation in March.
Sheldon Fernandez, Country Manager for Malaysia at PropertyGuru Group, said:
"Currently, we have a big responsibility given that two brands (PropertyGuru and iProperty) are coming together. The acquisition allows us to focus on what we think is right to assist our customers, and we are looking to add more value for them.
"There is a healthy momentum in the market. Although consumers are more cautious as prices and interest rates are going up, there is still the fear of missing out because historically prices have not come down. So people want to buy a property now as opposed to waiting later on when the prices are a lot higher.
"I think consumers have high intention to buy or own a property but we may see a bit of a dampened approach given the challenges in the economy."
This deal has been on the cards for some time. Online Marketplaces produced a deep dive report into the details in June 2021. Read it in full here.
PropertyGuru hit the headlines for the wrong reasons this morning because of non-compliant property listings published on its platform.
Singapore's Housing Development Board (HDB) announced last week that it is investigating “vacant” BTO flats being sold on the open market—with 53 cases where flat owners did not occupy their flats during the minimum occupation period between 2017-2022
The HDB requires flat owners to fulfil a minimum occupation period (MOP) of five years before selling their home, and it has specified that the owners have to physically occupy the flat during this period.
PropertyGuru appears to be on the receiving end of the investigation, with "some" of the offending listings appearing on its portal.
However, it is the agents' responsibility to ensure listings are compliant, not PropertyGuru's.
A PropertyGuru spokesperson said:
"A sound reasoning must be presented before the removal of listings from our site. Agents are required to make amendments or remove the post within a 24-hour or 48-hour period, depending on the nature of the violation, when a clear violation is found or reported.
"On our end, we are unable to determine if someone has lived in the house or not. However, our T&Cs state that agents are responsible for verifying that their listings comply with government rules."