BENGALURU: Real estate portal Housing.com has entered into an exclusive strategic partnership to sell apartments of affordable housing company Tata Value Homes on its website.
"We are targeting young professionals and facilitating a behavioural change to book flats online," said Advitiya Sharma, cofounder of Housing.com. "This is one of our first partnerships and we will tie-up with other companies too." Housing.com's technology team has developed a slice view 3D interactive platform to help people book their houses online.
Naspers-backed PayU will be the payment gateway for the transactions. According to Housing.com, only the down payment will be made online while the rest of the payment and legal processes will take place offline. Tata Value Homes has already formed a similar alliance with Snapdeal and Google and launched an e-commerce portal to sell homes. However, for the properties listed on Housing.com, the partnership is exclusive and marks Tata's first such tie-up.
"When we tied-up with Snapdeal, the focus was on reach. With Housing.com, we are looking at reach as well as leveraging their technology to create a better customer experience," said Pawan Sarda, head of marketing and project development at Tata Value Homes. The deal will not impact Tata's previous partnerships. While both Housing.com and Tata declined to comment on the business terms, Housing.com is expected to work on margins of about 2% on each sale.
According to a study conducted by Google, conducted by Google, 72% of customers research online before booking a house. "We are looking at changing customer behaviour and mak ing them make the purchase online too," Sharma said.
"This is a global trend that is also happening in India now, where more and more brick-and-mortar players are collaborating with the online companies," said Vineet Toshniwal, managing director of investment bank Equirus Capital. "This kind of a collaboration will bring more reliability, transparency and credibility to the transaction in terms of price benchmarking than, say, a broker since Housing.com has the bandwidth to offer large analytics." The global experience is that brokers and online services have been complementary to each other, where brokers list advertise their inventory online through these services and then help the buyers and sellers to complete the transaction, said Sunil Wattal, a professor at Temple University in the United States."The transparency of price also makes customers value such services. Potentially, this can reduce the importance of real estate brokers who earn their commission on the opacity of the market in terms of inventory and pricing," Wattal added.
It is estimated that the real estate market in the country will reach $180 billion (over Rs 11 lakh crore) by 2020. In just residential property, the top-eight Indian cities will see an additional demand of 2.8 million units in the next five years, according to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield. Japan's SoftBank last week invested $70 million for 30% stake in Housing.com, valuing the two-year-old startup at about $250 million. Housing.com's existing investors include Helion Ventures, Nexus and Qualcomm.