Name : Kevin Goos
Position : Managing Director
An exciting sit down with the Managing Director of Shwe Propery, Myanmar’s leading online property portal and largest real estate exhibition company, to discuss the future of the real estate market, the changes that have occurred in the past year, and their upcoming event the “3rd Biggest Property Exhibition” on October 19-21st at Tatmadaw Hall.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
I started as the Managing Director of Shwe Property about 2 years ago, prior to that I was the CEO of Century 21 Real Estate in Cambodia, which is the largest real estate company in the country and part of the largest real estate brand worldwide. A lot of my focus for the past 10 years has been bringing real estate markets online in South East Asia. More recently, I have taken a large focus on helping Myanmar’s emerging middle class to gain the ability to purchase their first home. Its extremely rewarding for myself and anyone who works at Shwe Property because we have a purpose and understand the importance and impact our work has on others.
Please explain to our readers about Shweproperty.com.
ShweProperty.com was founded in 2011 and is today the largest and most recognized online property portal and largest property exhibition company in Myanmar with 84 full time staff servicing 104,000 property listings, to more than 600,000 monthly visitors, that result in over 35,000 sales inquiries every month. We integrate online tech support, live chat, and home loan applications for property seekers who buy a home online. Additionally, we organize a lot of seminars, project launches, and big property exhibitions such as the one that’s coming up next month the “3rd Biggest Property Exhibition” on October 19-21st at Tatmadaw Hall.
Can you tell us about that event on October 19th-21st?
It’s the largest 3 days in real estate of the year, with expected turnout of 15,000 people viewing around 1,000+ projects in all townships of Yangon mostly featuring completed condominiums, mini-condos, and apartments starting from 200 lakhs with both AYA Bank and YOMA Bank providing home loans on all approved projects up to 70% of the property value for up to 25 years. We also have 40+ speakers over three days, panel discussions featuring all aspects of real estate, motivational speakers, entertainment, and over $10,000 in lucky prize giveaways. Its going to be a packed 3 days of activity with all developers ready to sell and home loan officers providing fast approval during our event.
What is your view on the current real estate market?
The market hit rock bottom in February 2018 from a sales price and transaction volume perspective according to our website data. However, since the emergence of home loans targeted to the emerging middle class we have seen the market recover month on month. Its not rocket science, the better access to finance when buying a home, the larger the pool of potential buyers. We are really excited about the next few months, overall certain parts of the industry are strong, such as affordable housing, and other parts, such as condominiums, will follow shortly as the oversupply of affordable housing balances out and it becomes more attractive to purchase other types of property.
Is it the right time to buy? Why?
You always want to buy low and sell high, so yes the property market bottomed out roughly six months ago, with the sale price not much above the actual construction costs. Most of my staff have bought either one or two properties over the last 6 months largely because we see the market on the rise. As real estate worldwide is cyclical, it safe to say we are entering a upturn in the market at this point in time.
How are home loans affecting the market?
The support we have had from Banks over the last 6 months is incredible,in moving this industry forward it couldn’t have been done without our launch of the AYA Bank Home Loan product organized by Shwe Property back in April. If I had to pick a definitive moment, when the real estate market took a huge upturn, it would be that event. Additionally, Yoma Bank’s digital innovation for home loan application has really brought the market online, we are really happy to be working with them for our new home loan integration on our website, which allows user to purchase a property with a home loan directly on our site, your now only one click away from owning your property.
What is your target market segment?
Our entire focus for the last year has been to help first-time home buyers purchase a property that is right for them, at a price they can afford, with a home loan or payment plan that is in their budget. Currently, anyone who has a household income of 400,000 kyat or more is eligible to buy a home, and this has only been the case for the last 6 months since Aya Bank and Yoma Bank become active in the property lending market. We describe first time home buyers as the newly wed couples, new families, and successful small business owners who make up a large portion of the emerging middle class.
What is your competitive strategy?
We don’t really have anymore big competitors at the moment, with house. com.mm recently departing the market and the other smaller property portals focusing on oversea’s properties or apartment sharing to migrant workers. So ShweProperty.com is perfectly positioned in the market to look at the industry from a larger prospective to reach an end-goal which is to provide a better and more convenient service by bringing the property market online and letting the seller deal directly with the buyer.
How do you usually promote Shweproperty?
As the first destination anyone should contact before making a property purchase. Just like other countries buying a home can be the biggest decision in a couple’s life, so the last thing anyone wants to do is make a mistake during that process. Our website, has home-buyer guides, professional agent directories, and consultative support, matched with the biggest database of property listings in the country.
What are the differences between Myanmar real estate market and other South East Asian Countries?
Myanmar has some challenges, but from a real estate prospective, every property market around the world and in South East Asia is relatively the same, over 90% of property seekers go online first before contacting a developer or agent, and ShweProperty.com is the only active property portal in the market. We see the Myanmar property market developing in the same way but at an incredibly fast pace.
Retail (commercial), office, residential or industrial, which one has the best potential now? Why?
Retail has always been good, as more international franchise brands continue to enter the market, the availability of quality retail space is in high demand. Commercial space is tough at the moment, industrial remains strong as the cost of labor for lower qualified manufacturing has unlimited potential. Other sectors such as residential, especially in affordable housing and with condominiums that are over 70% complete are moving quite well, the main driver is banks providing home loans on these properties.
Lack of credible data on property transactions – how do we ensure what we pay is fair?
S h w e P r o p e r t y . c o m p r o v i d e s a comparable analysis of other properties that are similar in size and location as a guide for property buyers, its exactly what other countries do and it works just fine here. What are your future expansion plans?
Shwe Property just received a 7-digit series A funding and we will use those funds to grow our Sales team by 300% in the next 6 months and grow to over 220+ plus staff. We are beginning our hiring phase next month, so if your readers are looking to join, applications are open on JOBNET.com.mm. From a business standpoint, what are the biggest challenges facing your business in the foreseeable future? Primarily external factors such as currency, policy instability, international press, that are mostly out of our control but that’s part of the risk versus rewards in establishing successful businesses in frontier markets.
What advice would you give to improve real estate sector in Myanmar?
As Shwe Property is very buyer centric, everything is progressing quite well at the moment. Our core developer clients are all looking to take on new projects and we are achieving month-on-month record sales, as the market rebounds due to home loans. However, we created our own momentum and don’t rely on external factors to achieve desired results, such as government regulation, or devaluation of the currency over the last 3-6 months.[/paypal]