EghtesadOnline: A local startup has launched a website providing Tehran residents with real estate brokerage services.
The website MelkRadar.com operates as a search engine for real estate and links owners to homebuyers and those seeking lease, local news website STshow.ir reported.
Properties in the sprawling capital, which has been expanding monstrously in all four directions and is home to 12 million people, are compartmentalized based on district, price, and construction date, Financial Tribune reported.
According to the business’s website, the startup will introduce Android and iOS apps in the coming months.
Several other online businesses have been offering similar services in Tehran and other cities.
The most famous website offering real estate services as well as online sales is Divar. In addition to a website, Divar has Android and iOS applications — the Android app has been downloaded over 12 million times from local Android market Café Bazaar and Divar.ir is Iran’s ninth most-visited website according to statistics released by analytics service company SimilarWeb.
Two other startups offering similar services are ihome.ir and eskano.com. The former is in the market for several years but came to prominence after it was taken over by the French-Pakistani Emerging Markets Property Group in 2015.
Eskano, supported by the Iran Internet Group — itself backed by Germany’s Rocket Internet and MTN-Irancell — has been struggling to take the top spot in the online property market.
Acute Housing Problems
The population explosion in major cities has exacerbated the already acute housing problem with experts saying that real estate is comparatively expensive in Tehran compared to metropolises in many other countries with similar demographics.
A 75 square-meter apartment in Tehran costs some 7.8 billion rials ($195,000) and workers’ nominal minimum wage in Iran for the current fiscal year (ends in March) is 9.3 million rials ($237).
A similar property, for instance, in Brasília costs $210,000. Brazilian’s minimum wage is $295. Average salary in Egypt is $1,200 and a 75sqm apartment costs $42,000 in Cairo. A 73sqm apartment in central Jakarta costs $240,000 while the minimum wage in Indonesia $992 and average income stands at $1,200.
Online startups like MelkRadar cater to the needs of a market that has become exhausted with realtors’ dodgy practices — over charging customers, jacking up property prices for fatter brokerage fees, providing false information… -- wanting to make easy money.
Realtors, unlike users, are obviously unhappy with the growing presence of such startups and the impact of technology on their income. Tehran Association of Realtors hardly makes a secret of its inherent dislike towards its online competitors whose numbers are rapidly growing.
TAR director Hessam Oqbaei has repeatedly spoken in defense of his colleagues, saying that he will “destroy the Divar application for it has eliminated the role of registered brokers in home deals”.
He is upset because “There are 12,000 realtors in Tehran whose jobs have been threatened by this application. Realtors should not be removed from the housing market.” As is the case with other traditional businesses facing online challenges, it remains to be seen if and when the TAR boss will deliver on his unprofessional and deplorable threat.