Singapore Property Sites
Although you might consider Singapore to be a small country, it has a large property industry and with that comes many property sites. In this post, we set out to highlight the major sites and also preview some up-and-coming ones you may not have heard of previously.
You can’t discuss Singapore property sites without mentioning PropertyGuru, as they are the dominant player when it comes to property portals. Despite aggressive competition since the site’s establishment in 2007, PropertyGuru claims to have a remarkable 77% market share of page views to property sites in Singapore.
Although sometimes thought of as the cliched "big, slow incumbent", PropertyGuru can lay claim to being one of Singapore’s most successful startups. They’re by no means still lean or bootstrapping, though, having raised S$175m in their last round of funding alone.
As you’d expect from such a market leader, they do the majority of features well and tend to have the most of everything - most listings, most agents advertising, etc. At the same time, this comes with some downsides - with such a volume you may be frustrated by many expired, duplicate or even fake listings, and it also feels quite noisy and cluttered to use (perhaps no major overhauls of the interface since it started).
Regardless of how important you consider the user interface, one thing is for sure: you can’t think about property in Singapore (buy, sell, rent, etc.) without considering PropertyGuru.
Although Singapore is not iProperty’s strongest market (like everyone else, they struggle against PropertyGuru), the company is a huge South East Asian startup success story of their own. iProperty operate multiple successful real estate portals throughout the region and were recently bought out by Australia’s REA Group for more than half a billion US dollars in total. It will be interesting to see if the new owners drive a renewed push for success in the Singapore market.
Although their site is fairly good, you may struggle to find much uniqueness that isn’t already available elsewhere. For example, you wouldn’t expect to find many rental listings which aren’t available by the same agents on PropertyGuru too.
In summary, iProperty have a pretty good site, but you might not miss out on anything by skipping them.
The ST in STProperty is a reference to the newspaper Straits Times, as the site represents a progression from the days when property listing advertising was almost exclusively the domain of the print media and listings on the site came from the paper. Unlike PropertyGuru and iProperty, STProperty is focused on Singapore-only and has no sister sites in other countries in the region. Until recently, you could group STProperty with iProperty a little - i.e. good sites, but not offering many differentiators or unique value compared to PropertyGuru. However, this changed when STProperty’s owner acquired a majority holding in the site SRX.com.sg, which was considered to be a fast-moving startup in the real estate portal space.
SRX’s data-driven tools and technology paired with the market size of STProperty is already producing some nice results. An example of this is STProperty featuring properties for sale that are calculated to be “below X-Value” (as calculated by SRX), which in simple terms means they might be a bargain. This data-driven pricing approach provides a compliment to the traditional “listen to the opinion of an expert” approach to real estate.
Another superb new feature you will like comes from their partnership with v360 Property, enabling 360 degree “virtual tours” of properties. Considering that the Singapore property market is guilty of some of the worst listing photography in the world, it’s great when you can look all around the apartment virtually. At Key Location, we’re also fans of v360, and you can see some of their work on our Altez condo page, for instance.
It will be interesting to see what the STProperty/SRX partnership brings in future.
After covering the three “incumbents” of Singapore real estate, it’s time to cover the most exciting challenger - 99.co. The team behind 99.co entered the real estate world with the flat sharing site homie.co in late 2013, before quickly expanding to rentals in early, 2014 and eventually becoming a fully-fledged real estate portal by 2015. During this time, they raised an impressive $2m+ in funding from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin (himself a Singapore resident).
Coyly, both PropertyGuru and 99.co claim that each other is not the enemy. Instead, their joint enemy is apparently “offline” advertising, such as the Straights Times newspaper. However, 99.co’s CEO has not been shy about mentioning that it was shortcomings of existing sites that inspired them to start 99.co.
99.co certainly give off the startup vibe - a young team, lofty aspirations to “disrupt” their industry, and a homepage that you’ll find uncluttered in comparison to the ones already shared.
Apart from a pretty site, you may be interested in how 99.co otherwise differentiate themselves. From the start, they have promised “transparency” for users and a Google-like approach to "put the best results first". They’re careful not to say it too directly, but you can safely assume they mean agents won’t be able to buy themselves to the top of search results like they can do on PropertyGuru. What makes this audacious is that their business model - like most portals - is based on those very same agents paying 99.co in the first place. In other words, "you can pay us, but not so much that your listings go ahead of others". It will be interesting to see how this site progresses and challenges the major sites.
The Edge Property
The Edge Property website is a relatively recent addition to the Singapore scene, although “The Edge” itself has been a financial publication for over a decade. Given its roots in finance and investment, you will find the site skews towards buying and investing in property. Like SRX, it also has a better-than-average approach to tools and analysis, particularly in the investment area (e.g. rental yields, etc.).
The Edge Property site is also being boosted by the addition of great info and tools from Square Foot Research being introduced. Square Foot is/was one of our favourites and would have made this list if it wasn’t for its apparent impending integration with The Edge Property.
In summary, this site is a good reference for you, especially if you’re buying or selling.
You may not have heard of Nestia, as they have kept a low profile so far. What’s particularly interesting about their site is that they are a startup focusing on rental listings only, i.e. no for sale posts. They may remind you of 99.co a lot, particularly with their full page apartment image with search bar.
The team behind Nestia don’t give much away on their About Us page, and haven’t been featured in any press articles, so it’s hard to gather any info on their size or business model. They have a good-looking site, so it will be interesting to see if they expand to be a comprehensive portal like 99.co or remain focused on rental listings.
Finally, we have this site, Key Location. We started Key Location in 2014 with the aim to be the leader in property-related location information. In essence, we want to capture what it’s like to live in a certain location - what does your nearby area look like, how far do you need to walk to get groceries or reach the subway, etc.
A fundamental principle behind our approach to rentals is that Singapore suffers not from a scarcity of good apartments, but instead from an abundance. In other words, the volume of available apartments for rent (50,000+ listings from 2000+ condos) means you may not have the time to discover the one that would have suited you best. After all, there’s a limit to how much time you can spend reading descriptions or visiting condos, so you may touch 10% of available ones at most. Our goal is to help you narrow down locations and condos first, before you start the arduous task of reading through available listings.
In the process of gathering Singapore’s best location data, we also developed what we think is Singapore’s best condo search, particularly for people who are new to Singapore. When you’re new, you may not even know where to start when it comes to suburbs and condos, so we think the best place to start is "what’s convenient from my workplace?". Searching by travel time is an essential feature for property sites today, and you could find it here first.
Above: an example search result grading condos by travel time and availability.
Even if you’ve lived in Singapore for a few years and are looking to move, it’s unlikely you can know at a glance which condos fall on convenient subway lines or bus routes - and nor is any agent able to memorise the travel times for Singapore’s nearly 2000 condos either. Search instantly based on travel time and filter based not only on size and budget but also useful characteristics such as condo facilities (pool, kids playground, etc.) and nearby amenities (walking time to groceries, etc.).
Check the site out here
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