Hartabumi tackles issue of unsold bumiputra properties

  • Aims to bridge gap between property developers and bumiputra buyers
  • Expands its reach into the rental market through the Rumahsewa portal

 

Hartabumi tackles issue of unsold bumiputra properties

 

ENTREPRENEURS look for all sorts of ways to fill a gap in the market. For Hartabumi’s chief executive officer Radzi Tajuddin, he realised that there was a gap in the property market in the form of unsold bumiputra properties in the Klang Valley.

The 29-year-old honed in on this specific issue in 2015 and then spent a year researching the space before launching the Hartabumi portal in April 2016 with the objective of acting as a listing site for bumiputra properties as well as being a knowledge site with articles, bulletins and videos to educate buyers on the local property market.

For the uninitiated, since the 1970s, Malaysian property developers have been required to allocate a percentage of all property units to bumiputras. These bumiputra lots, typically units of land or property, can only be purchased or owned by bumiputras allowing to enjoy their choice of unit as well as a discount on the price of the property.

The bumiputra quota and discount allocated varies between different state quotas and ranges from 30% to 50% with discounts from 5% to 15%. With all these factors in place, one would expect bumiputra units to be among the quickest and easiest to sell.

However, that is not the case according to Radzi. There are still many unsold units across the country. In Johor alone, a report in The Star shows that there is a glut of 80,000 bumiputra properties that pose a challenge to developers, constricting their cash flow as a result of holding on to the units for long periods of time.

Further cementing this is a recent Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) report that highlights the fact that a high number of unsold properties were priced at RM250,000 and above.

“In the current property market, developers face a challenge in finding buyers, let alone bumiputra buyers specifically. Even when they list on different property portals to look for buyers, 90% of the leads generated are non-bumiputera,” said Radzi.

He is of the belief that there are indeed bumiputra buyers who are willing to spend but they are difficult to find on general property portals.

Radzi explained that Hartabumi’s proposition to property developers is that its website and social media channels have a reach into the bumiputra segment. He claims Hartabumi’s site receives between 100,000 to 300,000 page views in a month and has 40,000 Facebook followers.

“We want to angle ourselves such that developers can depend on Hartabumi to generate quality leads that eventually convert into sales,” said Radzi.

In terms of audience and demographics, Hartabumi primarily caters to first-time bumiputra home buyers who are typically those aged between 25 to 39, most of whom are newlywed couples, young families or singles.

He is of the opinion that the recent announcement by the government to reduce the Goods and Service tax (GST) from 6% to 0%, would see a reduction in property prices, though only at a later date and this would encourage a better take-up rate by home buyers.

“Right now our focus is on properties that are priced below RM1 million. The logic behind this, is because most first time home buyers are only able to afford properties below that price range,” said Radzi.

Breaking into the rental market

Wisely, Hartabumi is not putting all its eggs into one basket as the company is also exploring the rental market through their newly-acquired portal, Rumahsewa.com says chief operating officer Nadzri Sazali. 

“We see a big gap in the rental market right now. Even though there are a number of different portals doing rental listings, the problem is that a lot of the listings are not accurate as the photo uploaded is not a precise description of what is actually on offer,” he said.

Seeing that people don’t have time to browse and filter through so many different properties to see which are genuine, Nadzri aims to revamp Rumahsewa to be a personalised search portal for rental properties.

It would be in the same vein as requesting for a Grab driver; a user would key in a search stipulating the type of property, preferred location and budget that they are looking for. Nadzri says that once a request has been made, they hope to connect users with an agent within 24 hours via WhatsApp with suitable properties that match their request.

The move to make Rumahsewa a rental portal without listing is slated to be ready by the third quarter of 2018.

Apart from expanding to the rental market, Radzi hopes to drive greater awareness of Hartabumi through aggressive promotions in 2018. He also aims to move beyond the Klang Valley to Malacca and Johor by the fourth quarter of this year and eventually to Kedah and Perak next year.

 

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