Thais buy condos online and give real estate agents the slip
Web transaction platform helps eliminate the middleman in property deals
MARIMI KISHIMOTO, Nikkei staff writer
BANGKOK -- Online peer-to-peer markets have come a long way since eBay launched over 20 years ago, and you can buy just about anything through social media. In Thailand, that now includes real estate.
Thais actively trade goods between each other over platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Now, one startup has launched an online platform that connects sellers and buyers so they can negotiate deals directly, without worrying about fees or commissions.
ZmyHome, announced on Jan. 15 that it had raised $400,000 from KK Fund, a Singapore-based venture capital fund, which will be used to revamp the website.
Despite only being launched in 2016, ZmyHome now boasts 300,000 unique monthly visitors and, according to company founder and CEO Natthapon Asswisessiwakul, has seen more than 10,000 properties sold.
KK Fund founder and general partner Koichi Saito said young Thais are particularly active online property dealmakers, and that he sees great growth potential in the market.
In a survey of 25 economies, accounting firm PwC found that Thai respondents were more active than anyone else when it comes to informal online transactions, with 51% saying they had bought something directly from another consumer through social media.
Dealing with strangers is perhaps less of a concern in Thailand than in many other countries. It is not uncommon for people to sell items like used clothes or handmade goods through exchange sites, with buyers contacting sellers through messaging services.
Property transactions of this nature come with inherent issues, not least making sure you can trust who you are dealing with. But they allow people to buy real estate more quickly and at lower costs than going through an estate agent, and many analysts see consumer-to-consumer platforms becoming a major conduit in the county's real estate market.
Condominiums are going up at a lightning pace in Bangkok and the next target for Natthapon is to tap into demand from foreigners looking to get their hands on one.