Singapore’s Real Estate Sector is Living on Borrowed Time, Says Rentals.sg
Should established Singapore real estate agents be nervous as technology disrupts the rental landscape? In short, yes, and one property rental website has challenged all real estate agents in the city-state to adapt their outdated business methods or face a tough future.
Speaking to Singapore’s largest real estate agency last year, Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, echoed most of the same sentiments.
Minister Wong said we should be prepared for technological disruptions that will impact businesses and the way we do things.
He said, “We have taxi firms as examples. They are disrupting the industry; taxi drivers are upset but consumers are happy as they get better service. This trend of technology, disrupting ways of business, is going to be more pervasive.”
Minister Wong added that we will see this in all sectors of the economy, and we must be ready for it, including in the real estate agency industry.
Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Rentals.sg, Martin Phillips, said, “I truly believe real estate agents are living on borrowed time. Driven by consumer demand for more direct transactions, new technology and social communities, I doubt the industry will exist in the same shape ten years from now. If they fail to adapt they will undoubtedly face a tough future.”
“We are already seeing this in various sectors every day as new ways of doing business. Our business has been successful in signing some major Singapore property developers to use our website to market their units for renal.”
Phillips added that for all Singapore landlords looking for tenants, the website is truly a solution to potentially save thousands of dollars. Why? Because most Singapore landlords are not aware they can handle property rentals without using a real estate agent – and potentially saving thousands in commission fees in the process.
The website is a unique, targeted online solution for property landlords in the city-state to market their vacancies to an audience who are only looking for Singapore rentals – with no buyers or investors to cloud the picture. By offering an easy online solution with free photography, downloadable letters of intent, lease agreements and links for online filing, Singapore property landlords have all the tools to easily transact their rental property in the quickest possible time.
Should established real estate agents be nervous as the website changes the rental landscape? In short, yes.
Phillips believes that as technology continues to transform and becomes both cheaper and more convenient, the company can continue to innovate and introduce new features across an asset light, low cost platform.
He views block chain as the potential game changer for the entire property industry, much in the same way as Fintech is already changing traditional banking.
Real estate agents in a sleepy market that shows little differentiation or innovation, should be worried. Disruption across the Singapore property rental real estate sector is already happening.