As the lockdown restrictions are being lifted across the country, the worst fears about the implications of the pandemic are appearing to be fading away. Our economy is showing strong signs of recovery and consumer confidence has been restored. However, the pandemic has made some tectonic shifts in our market dynamics which are irreversible. COVID-19 has accelerated the trends that were already underway before we lock down and every sector has to transform itself according to the new consumer preference. The pandemic has paved the way for massive digitalization of services and consumers are leaning towards the digital platform to make purchasing decisions. It has prompted every industry towards a digital dimension, however, the adaptation has been asymmetrical.
Concurrently, a few companies were well equipped for the transformation. The biggest and only reliable real estate solutions provider in Bangladesh, Bproperty, has been the harbinger of digitalization of the sector since its inception. In the post-COVID-19 world, they set a new benchmark for the industry in Bangladesh.
A Digital Disruption
The pandemic has reshaped the priorities in the Bangladeshi real estate sector. Health and safety concerns are taking precedence in consumer decision making. People are more inclined to “Online and virtual viewings” adhering to the new social distancing regulations. The changing dynamics have facilitated a surge in Bproperty’s website traffic. The pre-pandemic or pre-lockdown period had been one of the busiest periods for Bproperty’s website when over 400,000 users on average visited it each month. The months of April and May saw hopefuls on the back foot about moving forward with their property decisions but still showed some interest in researching their future moves. Once the lockdown was officially lifted and people once again felt comfortable with real estate shopping, Bproperty’s website saw a rapid rise in traffic and user activity as the number of people using the site far surpassed the highs of the pre-lockdown period – reaching about 950,000 combined during June and July. The following month saw even more increase in website traffic, which also coincided with August being one of the best months for Bproperty in terms of property transactions. September is also on its way to producing a similar result if not better.
The initial stages of the pandemic created a lot of panic and confusion. Lack of economic activities and an uncertain future triggered a mass exodus of people from Dhaka. The new economic dynamics also prompted the residents to shift to a new home. Bproperty was prepared for this and responded with a strong acquisition campaign to cater to the growing need for more rental properties. As a result, the decrease that was seen in April began to recover in May with June being an important month for regaining momentum. In comparison to March, only 8% fewer listings were added in June and more than 14,000 rental properties were newly listed in the next two consecutive months.
‘We’ve come a long way, both as a real estate solutions provider and as a PropTech pioneer. With our understanding of the industry, experience, and innovations, we are confident in saying that we aid the country in assured decision making. And with the vision is to see the real estate scenario of Bangladesh grow and through virtual integration of the industry, we are achieving that.’
-Mark Nosworthy, CEO, Bproperty
Enhancing the Experience
As the introducer of PropTech in Bangladesh, Bproperty has always tried its utmost to make real estate more convenient and accessible to people through the implementation of virtual property tours, video property tours, and Facebook Live sessions. The proliferation of the internet and smartphones has expedited digitalization on a mass scale. Bproperty is catering to demand by delivering virtual property searches through various mediums and these have echoed with the current consumer preference. Bproperty’s Facebook Live sessions have had a resounding response since their conception. The Live sessions average high 20 thousand to mid-30 thousand in terms of their “reach” on the social media platform with some reaching over 50 thousand Facebook users. However, when the Bproperty Live sessions returned in June, the response was overwhelming with a reach that hovered around 80 thousand and even crossed the 1 lac mark. Such response is not limited to social media though. Video property tours that accompany the listings on the Bproperty website have also seen more clicks during the lockdown and the post-lockdown period. Comparing March of this year to June, when the lockdown was lifted, the number of users who view these videos have increased by a staggering 555%! The number of users who play videos rapidly rose since March and continues to steadily rise to date.
Bridging the Gap
Regardless of technological incorporation, physical viewings and evaluations will continue to be a vital part of real estate consumers for a long time. Bproperty is constantly at work trying to reduce the gap, and to their credit, much of the unnecessary processes have been eliminated. To counter peoples’ preconceptions and notions about the reliability of the virtual aspects of property search, Bproperty utilizes detailed 360 virtual property tour mechanics that allow users to zoom in and inspect every inch of those corresponding properties. Furthermore, to bolster the VR tours, subsequent video tours of the property as well as HQ images allow users to verify the aspects and features of the property. The combination of these three website features, along with a detailed description of the property, enables real estate hopefuls to browse multiple properties online and shortlist the right ones, which can then be viewed physically, if required, with the guidance of Bproperty’s expert property advisors.
Empowered by Innovation
Bproperty has been a staunch proponent of utilizing technology and all it has to offer to enhance the real estate landscape. Additionally, the organization is always working towards making real estate more accessible and easier for everyone involved. To that end, Bproperty has already enabled users to search properties using map views and use virtual tours to get in-depth knowledge about any property in question. These and other aspects of PropTech have been a core part of Bproperty and work toward developing, as well as incorporating, the next generation of property technology is always ongoing. And as a part of Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), who have more than combined twenty years of experience in operating property portals across sixteen nations, Bproperty knows, the skillset and the drive to take Bangladesh’s property market to that next level – which is currently being done by using the power of “Big Data”.
‘The only certainty people of this country had was that they wanted property. How they achieved that dream was previously ambiguous. Today, providing the masses with a virtual and complete solution and educating them on its availability and usage, consumers are more empowered than ever before. Bproperty has always stood to cater to the needs of real estate enthusiasts and we drive forward to creating more ways of doing so in easy and clear ways.’
-Mahzabin Chowdhury, Manager, Marketing and PR, Bproperty
Paving the Future
Thanks to Bproperty’s extensive market presence, operations, buyers, sellers, tenants and landlords, all real estate hopefuls will be able to make data-driven, logical investment decisions. Furthermore, October will also be the month of the Bproperty Online Property Fair where property buyers will get special features and opportunities that are unlike to what the consumers of this country are accustomed to. Alongside the online fair, people should also be on the lookout for Bproperty Interior – both residential and commercial, which is sure to revolutionise the still fledging interior design landscape of the country.
Bproperty is known to real estate enthusiasts for its features and services. The website is a feature-rich domain catering to a medley of needs and luxuries such as map views, area guides, heat maps, an EMI calculator, and so much more. More features to aid users are always being worked on but one particular new product is being unveiled to the public soon.