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Homeward ho! NRIs scan property portals

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Web portals have become a favoured option for non-resident Indians and the young and tech-savvy to search for property.
Web portals have become a favoured option for non-resident Indians and the young and tech-savvy to search for property.

J. Malarvizhi

A significant number of residence buyers in 22-34 age group are using online sources for information

CHENNAI: The increasing number of non-resident Indians (NRIs) looking to re-settle in the country and the affluent tech-savvy people buying houses before the age of 40 are increasingly turning to property portals for information, say builders and portal administrators.

P.L. Ganesh, project manager at Chaitanya Shantiniketan builders, says that the organisation is receiving a “reasonable amount of enquiries through portals.”

Of the enquiries from NRIs, most are from those returning to the country rather than those looking for investment.

“NRIs contribute a lot of the property transactions in the country at present. Chennai is one of the more favoured destinations - it is touted as a place with good infrastructure, opportunities and amenities,” says T. Shrikanth, National Head (Sales and Operations), indiaproperty.com.

The portal that is little more than two years old has reported a tripling of visitor traffic between March and May this year.

From interactions with builders, Mr. Shrikanth finds that as much as 40 per cent of their property transactions are with NRIs. Premkumar Ponniah, Chief Executive Officer of residential portal for property in major Indian cities, roofbird.com, reports that several visitors to the site are from the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore and West Asia.

Suresh Krishn, Managing Director, Isha Homes, says that more than half of all buyers are in the 25-37 age group now, when as recently as a decade ago buyers were exclusively above 45.

A significant amount of residential buyers in the 22-34 age group used online sources to find more information on residential projects, says Ramesh Nair, Managing Director – Chennai, of property consultants Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj.

Various options

Many of the websites offer visitors the option of hunting for rentals, land or developed property according to budget and location across the country.

In the city itself, the free classified ads papers remain the favoured source of information for those looking for rentals. However, builders are beginning to find that websites help them reach target audiences more effectively.

Effective means of advertising

“Portals are low cost and effective means of advertising, especially if the portal is a very high traffic website,” says Mr. Nair. Advertising on portals is a supplement to the more traditional advertising methods, says Mr. Ganesh. Chaitanya Shantiniketan has begun to spend about 8 to 10 per cent of the advertising budget on portals in the past three months and has seen an increase in enquiries in the period.

Isha Homes has also seen increased inquiries in less than nine months when it started advertising on five or six websites, says Mr. Krishn.

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