iProperty Group Delivers Strong Growth in First Half of 2011

iProperty Group Limited (ASX:IPP), the owner and operator of market leading real estate portals in Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, today announced revenues of A$5.2 million for the first half of 2011, a growth of 80% over the previous corresponding half year.

 AUD millions

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Revenues from Continuing Operations

80%

5.21

2.90

1.90

 NPAT from Continuing Operations

26%

(1.13)

(1.54)

(1.08)

 Operating Cash Flow

17%

(0.72)

(0.87)

(0.61)

On a local currency basis, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore all delivered strong half year on corresponding half year growth.

 Millions

Currency

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Malaysia

MYR

114%

9.82

4.59

2.44

 Singapore

SGD

79%

1.97

1.10

0.69

 Hong Kong

HKD

42%

4.56

3.20

1.61


Malaysia

Shaun Di Gregorio - CEO of iProperty Group Limited

iProperty Group Chief Executive Officer, Shaun Di Gregorio, commented ”We have had a very strong start to 2011. The first half results reflect our decision to focus on our three core markets of Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore. We are very clear on our business strategy and have significantly improved the quality of our management team. Our focus is to continue to build upon our market leading positions by growing our online revenue with a focus on agent penetration, listings content, unique visitors and leads to our customers. We believe the progress we’ve made over the last six months provides us with an excellent platform for continued strong growth.”

iProperty.com.my is the leading property portal in Malaysia.  It is the clear leader and continues to deliver strong growth, with half year on corresponding half year advertising revenues growing by 146%.  Revenue from the magazine and events business grew by 63% during the first half year.

 MYR millions

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Advertising Revenues

146%

6.88

2.80

1.16

 Magazine and Events Revenues

63%

2.94

1.79

1.27

Underlying this strong growth was an increase in paying agents to 6,828 as at 30 June 2011, representing growth of 58% from June 2010.  During the same period the number of property listings increased by 71% and the number of unique visitors to the website grew by 108%.

 

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Paying Agents (as at June 30th )

58%

6,828

4,318

2,271

 Unique Visitors (June)

108%

892,894

429,276

267,729

 Listings (June)

71%

171,000

100,001

58,496


Singapore

iProperty.com.sg is the equal market leader in the Singapore market.  During the first half of the year, revenues grew by 79% to SG$1.97 million.

 SGD millions

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Revenues

79%

1.97

1.10

0.69

Underlying the strong first half growth has been a major focus on increasing the number of agents with the result being a 42% increase from 4,111 as at 30 June 2010 to 5,846 as at 30 June 2011. During the same period, there was a 61% increase in the number of property listings and a 139% increase in unique visitors.

 

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Paying Agents (as at June 30th)

42%

5,846

4,111

1,644

 Unique Visitors (June)

139%

734,793

307,273

223,837

 Listings

61%

73,625

45,672

22,691


Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the iProperty Group operates under the GoHome.com.hk brand.  GoHome is the leading property portal in Hong Kong.  It has established a solid lead over its competitors and continues to deliver strong revenue growth, with half year on the corresponding half year revenues growing by 42%.

 HKD millions

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Revenues

42%

4.56

3.20

1.61

Underlying the strong growth in revenues has been an increase in paying real estate agency offices to 871 as at 30 June 2011, representing an increase of 41% over the number of offices at 30 June 2010.  During the same period, there was a 102% increase in property listings and a 75% increase in unique visitors.

 

Growth

1H 2011

1H 2010

1H 2009

 Paying Agents (as at June 30th)

41%

871

619

271

 Unique Visitors (June)

75%

449,582

257,135

195,268

 Listings (June)

102%

188,963

93,331

66,472


Outlook

Having established a strong position in each of Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, the focus for the Group for the remainder of 2011 is to continue to build agent penetration, listings content, website traffic and leads to advertisers. The business will continue to be aggressive in pursuit of these goals as we invest in our human capital and the long term benefit of effective and efficient sales and marketing execution.

At the same time the business will continue to be focused on the development of innovative solutions for its customers and providing consumers using the iProperty Group network of property portals with the best possible experience when searching for property.

With the completion of the acquisitions in Indonesia there will be a clear focus on rapidly growing the agent subscriber base, engaging property developers across Indonesia and increasing the consumer traffic to the website. This will be aided by the experience that the business has had in the growth of its existing core markets and the depth of experience that exists in the senior management team.

Top 10 Housing Estates with the highest and lowest COV for the first half of 2011

Following up to iProperty.com.sg’s coverage on National Development Minister Khaw Boon Wan’s comment that Cash Over Valuation (COV) cannot be abolished, here are the ten estates with the highest and lowest median COVs for the first half of 2011.

Top 5 Estates with the Highest COV

Top 5 Estates with the Highest COV (StreetSine's Property Analytics)

Top 5 Estates with the Highest COV (StreetSine's Property Analytics)

Bukit Timah comes in first place with a staggering $43,000 median COV. The consistently expensive district has brought in about $13,500 higher than the second highest estate in Singapore, Bishan.

The high median COV of Bukit Timah is hardly surprising, and there may be a few contributing factors. One of which is this characteristic of the district, which has a population of mostly well-heeled residents and a low number of HDB flats. Another possible reason could be the construction of Circle Line MRT stations – in particular, Farrer Road and Botanic Gardens stations. The high price could be a reflection of the convenience and accessibility that the new Circle Line stations will bring.

At $29,500, Bishan is the estate with the second highest median COV in Singapore. The estate, located at the central part of Singapore, is filled with a handful of well-known schools as well as Junction 8 Shopping Centre, a popular destination among residents and those living in neighbouring districts.

The other estates that make up the top five are Punggol, coming in third with a median COV of $27,000, followed by Pasir Ris with a median COV of $25,600 and Bukit Merah at $25,500.

Top 5 Estates with the Lowest COV

Top 5 Estates with the Lowest COV (StreetSine's Property Analytics)

Top 5 Estates with the Lowest COV (StreetSine's Property Analytics)

On the other end of the spectrum, the five estates bringing in the lowest median COVs have yet to even hit the $20,000 mark. It is notable that most of them are found in the Northern and Western parts of Singapore.

The lowest recorded median COV is $18,000, and it is shared by three estates: Woodlands, Sembawang and Choa Chu Kang. The three estates are located at the North-West region of Singapore.

One possible reason for the low COVs is the distance these districts are from Central Singapore. For instance, it takes close to an hour to get from Choa Chu Kang to town, despite intricate public transport networks. Another explanation could be the large areas that these estates cover. As there tend to be more sellers in larger areas, sellers feel the need to maintain a competitive edge and keep prices low.

The estate with the fourth-lowest COV is Jurong West, with a median COV of $19,000, followed by Ang Mo Kio at $19,996 median COV. Jurong West however, which also faces the issue of being located far away from Central Singapore, may see a rise in median COV in future because of the newly improved Jurong East interchange station.

Keeping Order in the Household

One of the perks of being an Interior Designer is being invited into people’s homes and seeing how they live. You come across people from all walks of life and cultural backgrounds but one common thread that binds most of my clients together is their need to create a sense of order, tranquility and beauty in their homes.

An interior designer’s role is to create and implement the vision a client has and at the same time, ensure that it supports their lifestyle. However it is the client’s responsibility to maintain the home in the beautiful condition in which it was handed over to them.

I sometimes make impromptu visits to the homes of some of my residential clients a year after completing the project to say hello and see if the interior has been kept the way we originally designed it. Surprisingly 90 percent are wonderfully maintained, which is very satisfying for me to see.

It is not uncommon for interior designers to be labelled ‘neat freaks’ and I would have to say that this term applies to me as well. I know that it isn’t easy for some people to keep a neat and tidy home as I believe this is often a by-product of conditioning. However everyone can contribute in a small way to keeping order in the household.

So this month I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of my interior design tips for keeping the home neat and tidy.

NEAT & TIDY TIPS

1. Centralise your storage into different categories. Centralising your storage will save you considerable space. Instead of having bath towels in every room, for example, place them in a centralised linen closet instead. Likewise, you should also have a centralised medicine cabinet, toiletry cabinet, linen closet, utilities closet, and electrical cabinet.

2. Personalised storage options. Consider talking to your interior designer about having custom storage pieces made. For example, you could have a custom joinery unit for your books and accessories or a bespoke dressing table for your collection of toiletries. With custom pieces, your interior designer can create the ideal storage for you with all the relevant compartments you need for your personal items.

A bespoke space-saving dressing table designed by Cameron Woo Design. Image courtesy of Cameron Woo.

A bespoke space-saving dressing table designed by Cameron Woo Design. Image courtesy of Cameron Woo.

A custom joinery unit designed by Cameron Woo Design for The Metropolitan Showflat. Image courtesy of Cameron Woo.

A custom joinery unit designed by Cameron Woo Design for The Metropolitan Showflat. Image courtesy of Cameron Woo.

3. Don’t clutter up your space with too many shapes and colours. For your storage solution to look great and not just neat, shop at places such as Muji where the product designs for storage items are simple and uniform, and are likely to suit most households.

Simple and uniform designs are key. (iProperty)

Simple and uniform designs are key. (iProperty)

4. Organising your wardrobe. Use wooden clothes hangers where possible instead of wire hangers to keep your clothes in their most impeccable shape. Then hang your clothes in order of colour so you can select from them easily.

5. Out with the old. If you don’t use something for 6 months, consider donating it. Clothes are always useful and a warmly appreciated gift even if they are your pre-loved seconds.

These are my five personal tips for keeping the household in order. Living neatly is a matter of conditioning and habit and it requires some self-discipline on your part, but after a while if you get into the habit of keeping things in their place, you will be surprised at how easy it is to maintain order in the home, even with young children. Soon you will become like me, totally accustomed to keeping order in the home without a second thought and well on your way to “Living Well”.

iProperty.com Singapore’s Site Search H1 2011

Here’s a staggering statistic for you – property searches on iProperty.com.sg were conducted at a rate of one unique search every 6.79s from January to June 2011. Given that we have 24 hours, 1,440 mins and 86,400 seconds in a day, that is a huge amount of property searches conducted on Singapore’s No.1 property website.

Below, we would like to share with you some site search data with you which we have compiled from Google Analytics Site Search from Jan – Jun 2011. They can provide some insights into which are the most popular districts, what are the top keywords that you have searched, and which are the most searched new property development.

Top 10 Most Searched Districts – Jan to Jun 2011

District 15 (East Coast area) topped the chart as the most searched district on iProperty.com.sg, and a close second was the newer District 19 (North East area). District 9 and District 10 didn’t come as a surprise to many in spite of their high average PSF, way above the national average PSF of all districts. Much sought-after luxury properties and condos can be found in D9 and D10, near the popular Orchard belt where famous retail shops and food are abundant. In terms of transaction volume, District 19 alone (ranked 2nd in this search result) had a total of 2,072 properties transacted in H1 2011.

Top 20 Most Searched Keywords (Condo) – Jan to Jun 2011

Icon came out top in the most searched keyword for condominiums on iProperty.com.sg. In the past 6 months, we saw Icon closing as high as S$1,981 psf. Some luxury properties, like The Sail @ Marina Bay and Citylights, did well in property search. In mature estates, condominiums like The Esta, Parc Oasis, Parc VistaLakeshore and The Centris witnessed some high search volume with their proximity to schools, MRT and other amenities. This bears witness to the continued popularity of condominiums in mature estates.

Top 10 Most Searched Keywords (New Developments) – Jan to Jun 2011

It is a close battle for search volume among some of the new property developments in January to June 2011, with Waterfront Gold topping the chart. From freehold SOHO-style condo in The Cape and designer condo near Mount Faber in Skyline Residences, to The Minton found near schools and MRT to The Greenwich near the Ang Mo Kio business cluster, these new condos share the limelight with other popular condos found close to the Orchard belt – The Vermont on Cairnhill, Skyline@Orchard Boulevard and The Orchard Grove.

Other non-condo names keywords that property buyers and investors are looking for when they are searching for their ideal home or investment property on iProperty.com.sg include:
Studio, Shophouse, HDB, MRT, Freehold, Condo and Penthouse

Don’t be penny wise, pound foolish

Let me share a story about two couples in their late 50s whom I recently met.

Couple A are typical savers. They have worked hard their whole lives and have paid off the mortgage on the HDB flat they bought 20 years ago. Now 55, they have a decent amount of CPF savings as well as cash savings from their fixed deposit accounts, which they set up because they did not want to take any risks with their money.

Scrooging on small expenses is not the answer. (iProperty)

Scrooging on small expenses is not the answer.

However Couple A are afraid that given the current low interest rates, their savings might not be enough to pay for their children’s tertiary education and any costs incurred after. Thus even though they have retired, they have had to take up odd jobs to maintain an income.

Like Couple A, Couple B also have children and they have also finished paying the mortgage on their HDB flat. However even though they earned less than Couple A when they were still working, savvy property investments have helped them avoid the situation in which the latter now find themselves. Indeed, when it was announced many years ago that CPF savings could be used to purchase property, they immediately jumped at the opportunity and used their CPF to buy two private properties.

Even though they do not have much savings left in their CPF accounts, they have two fully paid assets that have more than doubled in value. In addition, a steady stream of rent coming from the two properties means they do not have to worry about income.

These couples exemplify the importance of looking at the big picture. While scrimping and saving on daily expenses may pay off in the short term, neglecting to consider the future can have dire consequences.

By looking ahead, Couple B were able to be financially free even though what they did was neither complicated nor risky.

This does not necessarily mean that investing in property is the best way of securing one’s financial freedom. Rather, what these examples serve to illustrate is the importance of having long-term financial investments instead of just focusing on short-term small expense savings.

Agree to Disagree

In ‘The Little Boy And The Dollar Notes’, the allegorical tale of a young boy being presented with the option of taking either a $100 bill or a $10,000, the boy chooses dollar bill. This goes in the face from the advice he receives from people around him to take the larger denomination, but the boy is suspicious of whether the stranger who presented him with this unlikely choice would in fact hand over such a large amount as a $10,000 bill.

This reminded me of situations where everyone has a view and thinks they are correct or have the best answer. Ultimately, only one side may be correct, but does that make the other side incorrect?

Yes and no.
It’s possible to say “yes the other side is incorrect” because subsequent results show them to be so. However, in the case of the allegory it could be argued that based on the information the boy and the crowd had available to them at the time, they both made valid points. ‘The Little Boy And The Dollar Notes’ exemplifies how when presented with a set of limited facts, many different points of view can be expressed.

Sometimes it is important to step back and consider other people’s point of view. Walk in their shoes and take time to understand their frame of reference rather than facing off in an argument. You can still disagree with them, but there is no need to put down their point of view.

Just agree to disagree.
I believe that this point of view – agreeing to disagree – happens in a transparent and open environment like the stock market.

In a property transaction, for example, there is a buyer and there is a seller. The buyer believes that the current price is cheap, while the seller thinks that the price is expensive. They agree to disagree and the transaction is settled.

The buyer’s point of view could be based on oversold markets, good valuations, recovery, TA ‘buy’ signals, analyst recommendations, and so on. Similarly, the seller also has their set of reasons, whether they be overheated markets, overbought situations, recessionary forces, bearish indicators, TA ‘sell’ signals, or analysts with sell calls.

Reading a newspaper the other day I came across two articles. One was titled ‘Markets Sell Off Due to Greek Debt Crisis’, and then, on the same page, there was another article – this one entitled ‘Oil Prices Ease Due to Impending Greek Debt Resolution’. This frank contrast of views on the very same page epitomised to me how two different results or opinions could be gleaned from the same information. I concluded that price is defined, as the amount the next greater fool is willing to pay.

In a previous post of mine I talked about how supply and demand affects on the HDB market and how, although prices may seem high, sellers will price their product at a rate they believe someone is willing to pay. This is especially true in Singapore where, everyone has their point of view on property prices.

The sellers feel the market will enter a price correction in the future. The buyers feel that the sky’s the limit – and that prices will continue to climb. If the correction never comes, the sellers will be cursing themselves. If a reversal occurs, the buyers have overpaid. Only time will tell, so right now, I agree to disagree.

Decorating – It’s All About the Timing

Cash over valuation (COV) can be a controversial variable in the Singapore HDB resale market.

By all accounts, COV can be determined by many factors such as proximity to shops, food-courts, public transport or other amenities. As I’ve learnt from our apartment search a couple of years ago, another oft-forgotten determining factor is whether or not a flat is in good condition, well-maintained and recently renovated.

We looked at a number of different apartments before settling on our current block in Sengkang West. I must say that I was both amazed and disappointed that so many potential sellers put very little effort into the presentation of their interior prior to a viewing. It was an immediate turn-off to walk in and see an apartment in disrepair or simply unclean. And to add fuel to the flame, the sellers often asked for cash well above valuation – which would potentially eat into any budget set aside for renovation.

Walking in to the first viewing of what is now our apartment was a different story. The first thing that hit us was that the entire place was immaculately clean. What’s more, the renovations were already completed, and gave us an insight into something that we hadn’t seen in any other flat we had viewed. Its layout was completely unique and I can guarantee that there is no other apartment with the same fantastic features – although every 5-room flat in our block was identical at ‘birth’.

Along with the gorgeous browns, tans and light décor, one of the knock-out features of the open plan living areas is the built-in bar. Although we don’t entertain as much as we would like to given our busy lifestyle, the bar perfectly complements the rest of the decoration style.

The built-in bar. All images courtesy of Peter Breitkreutz (aussiepete.com).

The built-in bar. All images courtesy of Peter Breitkreutz (aussiepete.com).

We had no previous experience with decorating a property in Singapore, nor did we have any benchmark on how to go about it. We just researched extensively and went it alone – as a result, I’m guessing that although we were more than happy with the end result, we may have paid much more than we should have.
Here’s my key advice: be sure to plan your settlement and handover date in relation to required renovations, decorations and relocation very meticulously. Do not under any circumstances think that if you only have a small amount of work to be done – bathrooms or painting, for instance – that you will be able to co-locate in your new home while the work is underway.

When looking at any renovations in a HDB, the first thing to do is understand exactly what you are trying to achieve. In the case of our bathrooms, my wife had some very specific requirements in terms of placement of sinks, showers, toilets and the new bathtub. I had my own expectations about hot water systems, space utilisation and ambiance.

A computer-designed 3D visual of the common bathroom.

A computer-designed 3D visual of the common bathroom.

Once we had decided on a framework of what we wanted, we then went online and found contact details for a number of different renovation companies. We also visited a few companies we’d seen over the previous couple of years.

After talking with a number of these companies and looking at some of their previous work and testimonials, we eventually settled on a couple to give us quotations on our requirements. This involved selecting the tile patterns and designs that we wanted – the fixtures and fittings – toilets, bathtubs, shower heads, taps etc. After much searching we found a successful interior decorating firm that looked after our permits, provided labour, drew final designs and worked with us closely through all stages.

Not wanting to complicate things, and with the need to move into our flat as soon as possible, we also had the design company take care of securing professional painters to give the entire apartment the once-over.

The newly painted lounge room.

The newly painted lounge room.

The entire process of renovation was actually quite quick – maybe 3 to 4 weeks if I recall correctly – from the moment they entered the premises to the time they gave us the key back and we started moving furniture.

Although the exercise was relatively expensive, we were ecstatic that we were able to move into our very own resale flat that was unique to us in every way we wished it to be.

iProperty.com Singapore launches Android app

iProperty.com.sg enhances property search experience with new app for Android phones
Android phone users can now search over 70,000 properties in Singapore

Singapore’s number one property website, iProperty.com.sg, today launched a new mobile phone application for Android smartphones, further demonstrating the company’s commitment to innovation for property buyers and investors in Singapore.

The new app now enables Android smartphone users with the convenience of searching through over 70,000 properties in Singapore anytime and anywhere. This follows several other innovations introduced by iProperty.com Singapore earlier this year, such as the Property Trend Widget, an analytical tool available on the website that delivers real-time property price information and movements. The iProperty.com.sg portal is also accessible via iPhone and iPad apps as well as via a mobile-friendly version for use on all smartphones. Together with the new Android app release, iProperty.com Singapore demonstrates a clear commitment to helping property buyers to easily search for property whilst on the go.

“Our company aims to always be at the forefront of innovation”, says Shaun Di Gregorio, iProperty Group CEO. “The launch of the Android app is a significant milestone for us. Smartphone users account for over 10% of the total website traffic to iProperty.com.sg, and we believe this figure will grow to at least 15% by early next year as smartphone penetration in Singapore is set to increase,” Di Gregorio stated.

According to a recent survey by The Nielson Company, four in 10 online consumers, who claim they do not own a smartphone, said they will or are likely to buy one in 2011, with 39% of online consumers indicating they intend to purchase a smartphone within the next 12 months.

“Our agent customers are also major beneficiaries of our innovative approach,” says Di Gregorio. “We will shortly launch a mobile version of iRealtor, our key advertising management system that over 14,000 Singapore property agents use to upload their advertisements and pictures. Our commitment as the number one property portal group in Asia is to be at the cutting edge for our consumers and agent customers,” adds Di Gregorio.

In June, the iProperty Group announced additional investment of S$11.6 million by SeLoger.com, France’s number one ranked property portal. This investment validates the  iProperty Group’s direction and its clear leadership position in Asia where it operates market leading property portals in Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong and Indonesia.

The new app for Android phones can be downloaded at https://market.android.com/details?id=sg.com.iproperty


Using an iPhone? Or an iPad? We’ve got you covered too!