Traffic analysis & insights of the UAE property market
It’s been too long since my last analysis! So I think it’s time for a quick overlook of my former focus market. As usual, I’d like to start with a traffic estimation from Similarweb and later on, I will mention several very interesting moves that happened last year. Let’s check it out:
Facing a duopoly situation
Since my last analysis over a year ago, Bayut became the market leader in traffic estimation for property portals. They have pretty impressive estimated visits while keeping good engagement metrics: Just a 30% bounce rate, 4.78 pages per visit, and 3:47 average time on site. I can tell they’ve been doing a good job for a long time.
Property Finder has now second place with pretty good engagement metrics as well (estimated by Similarweb): 41% bounce rate, 4.35 pages per visit, and 5:59 average time on site. Back in the days, I thought they already “won” the market with plenty of resources and doing things pretty well. But in the online world, surely nothing is written in stone.
I included Dubizzle traffic as well, although they are a classifieds website with traffic for autos, jobs, and second-hand items. I can’t tell how’s their Properties section’s traffic, but my guess would be it’s below Bayut and Property Finder. Especially for mid-high range property seekers, excluding room rentals and such.
And that’s it, they are no more big players in this market. So with Just Property absorbed by Property Finder, and with Dubizzle and Bayut going together as I will mention next, we have a two-player only market. Maybe that’s not so nice for agencies and consumers.
Bayut + Dubizzle: A new giant was born in 2020
One of the biggest news in the region last year was the Dubizzle acquisition by EMPG Group, which had a direct impact on the real estate sector: Dubizzle & Bayut living under the same roof (literally since they share the office) and very interesting possibilities for collaboration. I don’t know exactly how that will go, but it was surely a powerful move.
JustProperty.com absorbed by PropertyFinder.ae
It was back in 2019 when Property Finder acquired JRD Group, adding JustProperty.com to their portfolio together with the Propspace CRM. That was a bold move to conquer the market, and it was unclear what would happen with Just Property. Finally, Justproperty.com disappeared and the whole site was redirected to Propertyfinder.ae.
Probably it was the right decision, so they can focus and put all their effort and resources into Property Finder. Although keeping two brands could have helped them in some aspects too. Regarding search marketing, the redirection surely helped to boost Property Finder’s SEO. Although at the same time, it left an additional slot on search engine results pages for other players to take. As usually happens, there are always pros and cons.
Houza: The new kid on the block
Under this situation and maybe with some unrest in the market (so I heard), Houza was launched in September last year. A new property portal with direct collaboration from several real estate agencies in Dubai. And not just collaboration, I believe some of those agencies finance it too as partners.
A project led by Barry Judge, former GM at Dubizzle. Someone whom I know pretty well since he’s the one who hired me to boost Dubizzle Properties 8 years ago (!). So I can tell he has all it takes to make Houza successful. But of course, is not easy (or cheap) to raise a portal from scratch. In any case, definitely worth following what they do.
Brokerages still playing on the online field
I’m happy to see my former project Luxhabitat still kicking on the online property field, with renovated strength thanks to the merge with Gulf Sotheby’s Realty. Now they are undoubtedly the most relevant player in the luxury sector.
Interesting to mention Nomad Homes, a relatively new player in Dubai with roots in Silicon Valley, who is trying to do things in a more innovative way. We also have the usual mass-market players like Better Homes, Fam Properties, or Knight Frank always relevant, among other brokerages. And I wouldn’t like to forget Fazwaz.ae, the hybrid agency based in Thailand that recently raised funding from Simon Baker’s (renowned property portal guru) investment group.
Is there a real chance to break that duopoly situation? What about launching a new CRM to fight Property Finder’s dominance in that field?