Most Indians now going online for property deals: Google survey

As an ever-increasing number of Indians search online before entering property deals, the internet is now estimated to be influencing property purchase decisions worth about $43 billion, search engine giant Google said today.

The Google India study, conducted on the basis of pan-India offline research conducted by market research firm Zinnov and real estate-related search query trends on Google, seeks to shed light on the influence of Internet on real estate purchase decisions in India.

The study commissioned by the internet search giant revealed that over 50 per cent of Indian real estate buyers' decisions are influenced by internet research. Moreover, more people in the so-called tier-II towns are turning to the internet.

"This phenomenon of researching online for real estate information before making a decision is not limited to metros but also extended to buyers in tier II cities," Google India industry director Nitin Bawankule told reporters in New Delhi.

The overall influence of internet on real estate transaction value of both residential and commercial property including rentals amounts to $43 billion ($31 billion for residential and $12 billion for commercial), he added.

The primary reasons for researching online were easy access to in-depth property information and market trends (60 per cent), large comparison options (52 per cent), easy access to contact details of owners and developers (49 per cent), and financing and document processing information (43 per cent).

Zinnov surveyed 15 cities in India including the metros, Pune, Lucknow and Ahmedabad with 6,196 respondents.

Talking about search trends on Google, Bawankule said the number had seen a 3x growth in the last three years.

"There is tremendous opportunity for both online real estate aggregators, brokers and developers to engage the buyers online by providing rich, meaningful and immersive experience to buyers on the internet," he added.

According to the study, 62 per cent respondents said aggregator sites (like makaan.com and magicbricks.com) were top sources of information for them on the internet, followed by websites of real estate companies (52 per cent).

About 45 per cent said they visited broker sites, blogs and forums to find information before making a decision.

An increasing number of people are also using their mobile devices to search for properties online.

"Mobile queries (those originating from mobile phones) are doubling every year and about 40 per cent of total searches came through mobile phones," Bawankule said.

Also, the study found 73 per cent of respondents saying they prefer using their mobile apps for researching for property.

However, a major concern for people researching online was the lack of accurate and updated information.

Respondents said websites of developers and aggregators often lacked in-depth information about property and features like easy price comparison.