While real estate sites MagicBricks and 99Acres are squabbling over who’s number one, upstart Housing.com has launched ‘New Project‘, a segment for publicising properties that are under construction or brand new by real estate developers, with a 3D map interface. The company is pitching this section as an alternative to brochures and display ads. The section is currently live only in Mumbai and has five projects listed as of now. You can see what one of these projects look like here.
The ‘New Project’ page has a tabbed interface, with sections such as details, flats, amenities, map, buildings, gallery, review and trends. The first three are apartment specific, while map shows the 3D view of the area. The company is developing the 3D models in-house and superimposing them on to Google maps, so that people can get an idea of what the building might look like once completed. Review tab will list opinions of real-estate experts and the trends tab will display a graph of changes in real-estate prices in the area over five years.
Housing has also incorporated floor plans for all flats on the portal and overall, it has all the information that one might need when looking to buy a house. Each project in this new section has also been awarded a ‘Project Lifestyle Rating’, ‘Locality Rating’ and ‘Child Friendliness Index’. It also lists rent estimates which will be useful for buyers who are looking at the property as along-term investment.
The company says that real estate developers such as Mantri Realty, Tata Housing, L&T Realty, Rustomjee, Rajesh Life Spaces, Sunteck Realty have already adopted the platform.
Competition: Housing competes against companies such as 99acres, Magicbricks, Commonfloor, Makaan and Indiaproperty and is the fourth biggest player in terms of unique visitors as per Comscore data. The company had raised $2.5 million from Nexus Ventures last year and had then expanded operations to five cities – Bangalore, Mumbai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad and Pune. It also launched Agent Map, to help property seekers find a real estate agent in the locality towards the end of last year.
Real estate companies spend a lot of money on advertising in mainstream media, and this gives them an opportunity to link to a 3D, interactive version of new and proposed projects, both in the ads, as well as on their own websites. This works for Housing in two ways: firstly, it allows retention of real estate advertisers with a superior product, and secondly, allows them to introduce Housing to potential buyers. By getting Housing to create these pages, real estate companies save money and effort required for creating custom websites for each new project as well, and keeping them updated. That said, it is not clear if Housing charges real estate developers to set these projects up, but it would be surprising if they didn’t.