Using the Internet is the most popular method of house-hunting in the Middle East, trumping traditional means including newspaper classifieds and word of mouth, according to a new report into the region’s property market.
The findings are contained in research from leading property website Lamudi, which today released its first report on real estate in the emerging world. The report, Real Estate in the Emerging Markets, provides a comprehensive overview of the property sector in 16 countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia.
Focus on Saudi Arabia
Whilst traditional methods of house-hunting remain popular in Saudi Arabia, the younger generation is causing a shift to online property searches. When it comes to searching for property, house hunters are now regularly turning to the Web to look for real estate.
The shift online has also been noticed by real estate agents; 91 percent of those surveyed by Lamudi said that the Internet is currently being used to search for real estate. What’s more, there are no signs of this trend slowing down, with 95 percent of agents believing that the use of the internet to buy and rent property will increase over the next decade. The use of the Internet to search for properties is becoming much more prevalent among the wider population of both Saudi Arabia and the Middle East.
Whilst the majority of time is still spent using desktops and laptops to search the Internet, mobile broadband has recently exploded in Saudi Arabia, with a 197 percent mobile penetration rate, the highest in the world after the UAE (Source: We Are Social). As an increasing number of Saudi Arabians access the Internet on a mobile device – 83 percent of smartphone users in KSA research products via their phone, according to We Are Social – local real estate companies are also adapting to the changes in how people are using the Web.
For example, between May and October 2014, over 252,215 sessions were carried out on mobile devices and tablets by Saudis using the Lamudi website.
The report is based on a series of online surveys conducted with house-hunters and real estate agents in each country, as well as onsite data from Lamudi’s global network of websites. The research examines the habits of online property-seekers, while offering insights into the future of the property sector based on interviews and surveys with local real estate experts.