PROPERTYFINDER’S FIRST CEO BREAKFAST HELD TO DISCUSS THE STATE OF THE LEBANESE REAL ESTATE MARKET
Beirut, 23/04/2018 – Propertyfinder hosted its first CEO breakfast of the season on April 4th, to discuss the current state of affairs of the Lebanese real estate market with CEOs from leading brokerage firms – all part of the real estate syndicate. Such leaders included Walid Moussa, PBM, and Syndicate President; Abdallah Saleh, Brokers XP; Ahmad Al Khatib, Century 21; Toni Lahoud, Phoenicia Real Estate; and Maroun Saliba, Propertize.
Propertyfinder also divulged its 2017 market data and findings, and showcased the latest in a series of Propertyfinder website upgrades. The event took place at the Hilton Habtoor Hotel in Sin El Fil.
Starting with a networking breakfast, attendees then gathered on a roundtable for a presentation about the latest events impacting the Lebanese real estate market. Attendees were impressed with propertyfinder’s ability to maintain stability and its aptness at collecting grade-A organic traffic, despite market uncertainty due to events such as the resignation of the Prime Minister as well as the Central Bank’s amendments on subsidized loans.
Data collected in the commercial sector showed a higher demand for commercial sales in Metn, Baabda, Kesrouane, and Jbeil as opposed to commercial rentals. Whereas in Beirut, numbers showed the opposite. Walid Moussa, PBM’s CEO, explained that startup companies cannot afford to invest in properties in the Beirut area, since price per square meter does not compare to the current economic state, which leads startups to invest outside of Beirut as it allows them to develop their investment into the future – whether by selling or renting the commercial property.
Propertize CEO, Maroun Saliba brought attention to the fact that most of his commercial clients in the Metn area are clients who had previously been operating in Beirut, but had decided to move offices to a more financially convenient location. Mr. Saliba continued further by saying that many expats tend to roam around Mount Lebanon, where a good investment would be in small furnished apartments that can be rented on monthly or per night basis.
Though commercial properties may be home to most during the day, nonetheless people still need residences. Search for residentials (rental or sale) showed Metn as the leading area for residential sale in 2017, followed by Beirut, Baabda, Kesrouane and Jbeil. With respect to residential rent however, Beirut ranked first, followed by Metn, Baabda, Kesrouane, and Jbeil.
propertyfinder shared insights and key figures for 2017, showing a market share of 72% for the year – meaning that for total consumer property searched online, 72% of results displayed were via the Propertyfinder portal. Data also showed that at least 26% of users browse in Arabic, and with a lower bounce rate than that of English browsers – showing a more convenient browsing experience in Arabic.
The company is continuously on the look for ways to enhance its user experience, by adding upgraded features onto the portal. propertyfinder gave a thorough explanation as to the importance of good quality content that includes photos, as well as a proper title and description. The portal has newly introduced a feature that adds immense value to consumers: “freshness of content”. This provides users with a better browsing experience, as it categorizes listings based on the latest additions – ensuring constant update of search results. Dynamic advertising is yet another key technology used by propertyfinder that ensures personalized real time retargeting of clients, once they leave the website onto other platforms.
In order for propertyfinder to serve its clients more conveniently, new features are to be added onto the portal. Brokers and developers can now upload virtual tours and videos onto the portal. Another feature is related to consumers and their ability to save properties of interest to them, so that they may access them at a later stage. Tutorials will be uploaded for consumers to understand how new features can be used for a better user experience. Furthermore, Propertyfinder understands the importance of branding in market differentiation. Various campaigns were launched in 2017, of which the “bala laf w dawaran” campaign that targeted billboards across Mount Lebanon and Beirut. The year 2018 will also witness the execution of yet another exciting outdoor campaign, this time across Mount Lebanon, Beirut, as well the South and North Lebanon districts.
The CEOs present at the meeting gave their input with respect to their experience in the real estate market, and debated questions of interest to the sector. All attendees look forward to a promising Lebanese real estate market, post May 2018 elections. Some of the changes are to include Gulf nationals getting the green light to invest into the market once again, helping create an uplift for all parties involved.