Real estate is widely considered a popular investment option and a great way to diversify your portfolio; be it a tangible asset (such as land) or products that lack physical substance including publicly traded stocks. While the market may undergo fluctuations in the short-term, it has proven to be an attractive investment promising high returns in the long run.
But this venture is not an easy undertaking. Even though the global real estate sector is one of the oldest and largest enterprises (even bigger than the stock market in some countries), it is one of the last sectors to embrace technology. Investing in property marketplace seems like an attractive option, but – in reality – the entire process is an overwhelming experience; each deal brings with it piles of paperwork and the possibility of unexpected delays, as well as arbitrarily large operational costs.
The reason behind these persisting problems is the lag of the real estate sector is catching up with technological advancements taking place across all other sectors. The opportunities to modernize the property marketplace are numerous and can help establish a responsive and efficient realty infrastructure, but these circumstances are not being capitalized upon – a pressing concern for the stakeholders.
Much like the rest of the world, Pakistan’s property marketplace has in recent years started adapting to technological changes; the advent of numerous online property portals such as Zameen.com signaled the beginning of this national real estate revolution. These e-classified advertisers allow users to sift through real estate listings; providing an ideal platform for both buyers and sellers to interact with each other.
With the introduction of social media, more and more local websites and applications entered the Pakistani property sphere. From providing virtual tours of the property to allowing the users (interested in putting their savings in order to purchase a real estate asset) with limited capital to pool in their investments so that they can easily acquire properties. Another recent addition to this line-up of real estate portals are businesses specializing in the provision of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and property management technologies to their customers.
This sudden surge in technological advancements in the real estate sector over the past decade has drastically impacted the dynamics of the Pakistani property marketplace. It has changed the way buyers interact with the sellers and the kind of property they put their money in. Moreover, it has transformed the local real estate business by creating a more enabling and efficient infrastructure for the stakeholders.
Shifting away from traditional real estate practices
Increased availability of smartphones and faster internet connections across the country have introduced more users to the online property marketplace. Consequently, this trend has facilitated an increase in the number of online portals. These portals allow interested stakeholders – buyers and sellers – to bypass the traditional route of contacting real estate agents to conduct their business for them and instead chose to do business on their own. This way they do not have to pay for the agent’s fee and can also access a much larger base of prospective clients and property listings without any hassle.
As these portals grow popular with the smartphone generation, developers and real estate agents are increasingly being confronted with the need to align themselves with the latest trends and produce professional digital content for their portfolios so that they remain relevant in the market. Most of these individuals and business have created an online presence and adopted technologies. At the same time, the Pakistani real estate market has been experiencing a steady shift from traditional to digital methods of property transactions.
Leveraging accessibility for overseas investors
The market has also become more accessible to different kinds of investors and buyers due to this onset of technology. Previously, the minimum investment requirement was very high, preventing a majority of the Pakistani populace from entering the market. But now, investors can choose to have a small stake in a property they invest in by putting in an amount as little as PKR 50,000.
Similarly, the availability of e-classified portals has opened up the real estate sector market for overseas Pakistanis to invest in. And people settled abroad with the desire to invest in their home country’s property marketplace can now do so easily, since the local websites help them navigate the market more easily – an undertaking that was previously considered impossible.
Pakistan’s tech industry is thriving, which is partly the reason behind the innovation that has significantly impacted the property marketplace as well. New investment avenues continue to pop for investors on a daily basis. Even though these advancements are steadily improving the state of the market, the country still has a long way to go before its real estate sector gets entirely modernized.