DBS launches property marketplace, its third online consumer portal

DBS on Tuesday (July 24) officially launched an online property marketplace, where interested home-buyers and tenants may browse through listings by both agents and owners, as well as make transactions to buy or rent a property or apply for a property loan.

It is the bank’s third online portal in under a year, following the earlier launch of two other e-marketplaces for cars and electricity which it says “have gained significant traction”.

Singapore’s largest bank has partnered with two online property listing platforms EdgeProp and Averspace to provide about 100,000 listings, it said in a statement on Tuesday.

It also said at a press briefing that it will double the number of listings when a third property listing site, SoReal, comes on board by the end of the year.

For the new online portal, users will be able to filter their search by location, property type, the number of bedrooms, price range and floor area.

After selecting a property listing, other information such as the duration it takes to walk to the nearest MRT station, as well as the past transaction prices of properties in the same estate will also be provided.

Besides being able to browse through listings, first-time home-buyers may use a planning tool to help them assess the price range of properties they are able to afford, based on their monthly cashflow.

The bank has identified three other customer profiles, namely those who are looking to upgrade from public to private housing, investors and retirees — and will progressively roll out planning tools catered to these three groups over the next one year.

Tuesday’s launch comes after a five-month pilot where customers may view listings but not perform transactions.

DBS’ head of secured lending Tok Geok Peng said that customers’ information needed for loan assessment will be populated once they log in, and the bank will be able to come back with in-principle approval within a day.

Home-buyers are still able to use the site to view and enquire on property listings even if they are not getting a loan with DBS.

In January, the bank’s competitor OCBC also launched its own property e-marketplace, OneAdvisor, for first-time home-buyers and investors. The online service, which similarly has EdgeProp as a partner, offers more than 135,000 property listings. OCBC is looking have another property listing platform 99.co join the portal, which will bring total listings to more than 200,000.

The site also offers users advice on the types of housing or prices they can afford, based on the amount of cash and Central Provident Fund savings they have, taking into account regulatory rules such as the Total Debt Servicing Ratio and Loan-to-Value Limits. Users may also contact the bank’s mortgage specialists directly for personal consultations.

Playing down the heightened competition from these portals, the popular PropertyGuru website told TODAY: “Over the 11 years that we have operated in Singapore, we have seen multiple entrants enter the online property space almost every year. We continue to invest in maintaining our focus on providing the best solutions in the market.”

DBS’ head of consumer banking Jeremy Soo said that the bank is able to “provide one-stop solutions that effectively anticipate our customers’ needs across their purchase journey”.

It was the first bank in Singapore to launch an online consumer marketplace when it started an e-commerce platform for cars last August called DBS Car Marketplace.

This came after the Monetary Authority of Singapore proposed in June 2017 to allow banks to invest in non-financial businesses, including e-commerce and online shopping portals.

The DBS car portal — involving a tie-up with sgCarMart and Carro — started with 3,500 direct-owner listings that has since grown to about 6,000 almost a year since its inception.

It also added other product offerings such as car accessories and car insurance in December 2017. DBS said that there are about 30,000 unique visitors a month to the site to date, and it has facilitated about S$50 million worth of transactions — a portion of which are offline payments.

As for its online electricity e-marketplace launched this March, there have been 190,000 unique visitors to date, which is almost double the number of households in Jurong.

The electricity portal allows households in Jurong to switch their service provider as part of the Energy Market Authority’s plans to liberalise the electricity market. DBS said that it will be introducing more electricity retailers by the end of this year.

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