housing

Post it acquisition by PropTiger earlier this year, Housing.com is now stepping up its game and has decided to step foot back into the home rentals space after a year long hiatus. The company, now owned by Elara Technologies Pte Ltd, has today relaunched its rental category with around 60,000 verified listings. It plans to increase the listed properties to a whopping 200k in the next three months, which is over 3x growth than the current number.

This development follows closely in line with the company’s decision to expedite the re-release of its home rental classifieds division by early this year. It was seen as the need of the hour because Housing.com expected the buying and selling of houses to slowdown in wake of PM Narendra Modi’s landmark demonetisation move. Thus, instead of obeying its scheduled mid-2017 release for the rental offerings, the company has debuted it earlier than expected.

Commenting on the early release, Mani Rangarajan, Chief Business Officer – Platform Business Unit, Housing.com said,

Renting a house is the first step for most individuals towards living independently and eventually buying a home which makes it a critical part of the home-buying lifecycle.

The reintroduction of rentals is a very strategic decision for us, both from a brand salience and business perspective. We are certain that this step will take us closer to our objective of becoming the preferred real estate platform for everyone looking for a home.

While the buying/selling of homes has become Housing’s core business due to larger margins, home rentals were once an important division for the company. It has decided to step back in the realm of addressing the search of affordable homes for rent in metros, as well as major cities in India. Thus, it brought along a slew of new enhancements, completely different from its competitors, aimed at improving the overall experience for home seekers.

One of the prominent new additions is the ‘Activity’ feature, which keeps a record of agents you’ve contacted through Housing and it gets feedback to ensure availability of listed properties. The users also have the ability to directly message agents from this dashboard. It is coupled with a ‘Housing Assist’ feature, which acts like your personal assistant that keeps tracks of your previous rental searches and then builds a user profile based on the data collected. This will allow you to reduce the time, money, and energy spent on finding the next perfect rental.

Ever since demonetisation, the search for affordable rental properties has steadily increased over the past six months. And Housing has decided to come back to the scene at a rather significant moment. Though it hasn’t specified how it plans to make money off the rental listings but expects the same to drive a substantial amount of traffic to the website. Housing.com alone is looking to touch 10 million visitors by the end of FY2018, while the combined business (including PropTiger and Makaan.com) currently has a monthly traffic of over 7 million visits.

Driven by NewsCorp, Housing.com’s acquisition by PropTiger has enabled the once-troubled company to attain a stable position in the market. It was engulfed by several disputes, stemming from the conflict between Housing’s then CEO Rahul Yadav and investors. With regards to the same, the company witnessed the exit of most of its prominent executives, including its three co-founders. Their decision to pivot to buying/selling properties saved the business and put in on track to achieving $10 million in revenues this fiscal.

Founded in 2012, Housing.com had raised close to $130 million in funding so far, out of which, ~$85 million have been invested by Softbank. Other investors  — Nexus Venture Partners and Helion Venture Partners, Falcon Edge Capital, Nirvana Venture, Apoletto Holdings, along with Snapdeal co-founders Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal also participated in its fundraising rounds.

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