2 September 2020
Digital long-term letting platform, HouseME, has secured a latest round of investment via new and existing investors, who are backing the company to build its position in the long-term digital letting market.
Ben Shaw, Chief Executive Officer of HouseME, says that the company is well positioned to capitalise on the surge of interest in online platforms, especially in the long-term letting sector which had been lagging. “This latest round of investment coincides with our celebration of three years in operation. We’re gearing up further after having recently completed work on our improved user experience.”
HouseME currently has a user base of more than 150 000, representing a substantial year-on-year increase.
Shaw says that the company has benefited from the rapid switch to online by many South Africans. “The number of units advertised on our site has increased materially since the beginning of the year, driven by larger property portfolios – many of whom are now moving digital, seeking the cost efficiencies of a long-term letting platform. As a result of the new normal, we’re also seeing increased interest in our risk mitigation products such as the rental guarantee.
HouseME maintains its view that pricing and tenant demand will remain muted over the next 18 months: a view that was supported by the latest the latest PayProp Rental Index released last week. With rental increases dipping to just 1.6% for the second quarter – half the growth rate of the previous quarter, and the lowest quarterly growth rate in its history – the index cites affordability as the major driving force behind the muted growth. This is confirmed by the findings of a large-scale survey recently conducted by HouseME, which showed that at least 28% of tenants had experienced a decrease in income.
However, Shaw says that hundreds of HouseME leases were renewed through the pandemic, and growth in listings still shows the potential ahead of the company. HouseME is currently seeking tenants for over 830 listings nationwide, with a number of the new listings driven by the decline in short-term rental opportunities.
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