A recent gathering of senior professionals from the UK new home building industry raised a healthy debate about the future of portals and online content accessibility for new homes available to consumers.
Thirteen key decision makers, representing 80% of new homes currently being built or in the pipeline in the UK and with an estimated portfolio value of £1 billion, concluded that portals are still valuable lead generators. It was agreed that portals serve as a critical central resource of whole market offerings in one place for consumers who are not necessarily brand loyal when it comes to a new home purchase.
The London Lunch was hosted by New Home Finder and facilitated by Dave Bexon, Group Sales and Marketing Director of Redrow Homes. It was attended by Redrow Homes, Bovis, Taylor Wimpey, Persimmon, Linden, Kier Living, Miller and Strata with representation also from residential agent Carter Jonas and media firms Space and Time and Amplifi.
The gathering also concluded that whilst apps continue to thrive as mobile and tablet friendly tools, the web browser is still king when it comes to more instant access to property information. A fierce debate explored the vast emergence of bespoke apps serving mobile and tablet devices and the wider availability of apps in the mainstream desktop arena. But the extra interaction requirements, through downloading time, authentication and storage space demands were considered barriers with browser connectivity now much more reliable, even in remote regions. The Internet was posed as a required utility that is often considered more important than landlines and even gas supply.
The final debate explored the demand for a niche platform focused solely on the new homes market. Existing platforms continue to provide a strong return for housebuilders although non currently represent all new stock. In considering the fact that customers are not brand loyal it was agreed that a niche portal for new homes is valuable if it can perform well for home builders as well as customers through providing insightful content aside from property listings.
Dave Bexon, Group Sales and Marketing Director of Redrow Homes, said:
I enjoyed the debate enormously and in particular the opportunity to exchange ideas with old friends and peers across the industry. Portals are old school now but do have a place. The future will undoubtedly be about creating and sharing in addition to seeking and finding and New Home Finder should be applauded in opening the debate and our minds to the possibilities.
Martin Hoyle, CEO of New Home Finder said:
he discussion gave us an extremely valuable insight into the thoughts and visions of highly accomplished marketeers in the new house building industry. New Home Finder has been borne out of demand for a dedicated new homes portal that can deliver tangible results for both the developer and consumer and, as we roll out the proposition to a national platform, we must take heed of what the industry experts are predicting.
New Home Finder (newhomefinder.co.uk) is a unique hub allowing new home buyers to find, store and share properties and articles that are useful for the home buying journey. It provides an interactive scrap book in a personalised area with access to partners and suppliers, incentives and ideas.
Launched in January 2015, New Home Finder was piloted in Yorkshire and achieved a 43% growth in traffic in just six months. It is already outperforming other major portals in terms of like for like traffic to home builders’ sites and has achieved a longer dwell time and conversion rate than even the UK’s largest property portal. The roll out across 12 UK regions expects to achieve over 2 million page views and represent over 2,500 developments.