Friday, April 07, 2006

Housing Market gets Boost as Peoples Snared by Web

The Toronto-based company, which owns office, retail industrial and apartment buildings, gives tenants immediate access to their property manager on-line.

As more and more businesses incorporate on-line strategies, commercial developers, realtors and landlords are finding ways to use the Internet as a useful tool for selling and leasing property and for serving their tenants more efficiently.

Statistics Canada's annual survey of electronic commerce and technology shows a steady growth in Internet and Web use by real estate and rental and leasing companies. Their reasons vary, from tenant demand for on-line services, to saving both the companies and their clients time. And some forecast even more of a virtual future, but, for now, acknowledge personal contact as driving the industry.

Statscan's most recent data available, from a survey conducted in 2004, showed 73.1 per cent of firms in the sector using the Internet, compared with 66.9 per cent in 2003 and 51 per cent in 2000. In 2004, the survey showed, 27.5 per cent were operating their own websites, compared with 26 per cent in 2003 and 22 per cent in 2000.

Today, like most companies, most larger real estate brokers and landlords have websites, though their sophistication varies. Some firms simply provide information about the company, while others see a potential business advantage in the Web, offering extensive information about available properties.

Some companies use the Internet to save time for prospective customers.

Oxford, for instance, lists all its vacant space on-line. Prospective tenants can search by location and retrieve details such as rental rates and floor plans. Visitors can even take virtual tours of properties, seeing the interiors of suites and the views from their windows.

The Internet is also useful in helping landlords be more responsive to existing tenants' needs. Menkes equips its building managers with BlackBerry personal digital assistants from Waterloo, Ont.-based Research In Motion Inc., so tenants can e-mail requests for repairs or maintenance work and get immediate responses.

There are also third-party sites. The Commercial Council of the Canadian Real Estate Association operates an on-line database of commercial property for sale or lease at Visitors can specify location, price range and various other criteria and retrieve listings of available properties that meet their requirements. Similar listings of property for lease are available at, a Vancouver-based website.

Despite stories like these, buying and leasing property still requires personal contact.

Internet use in the Canadian commercial and residential real estate and rental and leasing industry.

% of companies using the Internet
2000: 51.0%
2001: 53.4%
2002: 63.7%
2003: 66.9%
2004: 73.1%

% with a website
2000: 22.0%
2001: 22.3%
2002: 25.0%
2003: 26.0%
2004: 27.5%

% buying goods/services on-line
2000: 9.0%
2001: 13.4%
2002: 19.8%
2003: 27.1%
2004: 27.2%


Post a Comment

<< Home