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Online realty auction gaining ground

February 13, 2006 10:52 IST
Online real estate trading is fast catching on. With real estate consultants recommending the medium for its ease and reach, more and more websites are considering entering the fray.

The online medium has found favour with real estate consultancy CB Richard Ellis, that conducted the first high-profile online real estate auction of HSBC's property in Chennai in December last year.

"We are contemplating holding e-auctions for 5-7 high-value properties belonging to both corporates and individuals in the metros in March. It is definitely a good option to sell off one's property at a much faster pace," said Anshuman Magazine, managing director, CB Richard Ellis, South Asia.

Internet auction site eBay receives on an average 250 real estate listings in a month under categories like auctions, classifieds, and 'buy it now' or fixed price.

Both residential (sale and rental) and commercial properties are listed on the site, the largest percentage of listings being in the commercial category.

"We have seen an increasing trend of real estate transactions happening online and we believe this is due to the growth of e-commerce in India and the need to reach out to the market, unconstrained by geographies.

"As sellers have the option to sit in Jodhpur and sell a farmhouse or an office space to interested buyers in Delhi, Cochin or even the US, this helps get a seller a wider base of buyers and often a better price," said Deepa Thomas, manager corporate communications, eBay.

Sites like 99acres and 2letservice, so far working purely as online real estate classifieds, are also planning to diversify into real estate e-auctions.

We would start e-auctioning real estate in about a month or two, said Deepali Singh, vice president, 99acres.com. Within six months of its inception, the portal where buyers and sellers share property information across the country, had seen the number of classifieds increasing from 1,000 to 50,000, Singh added.

"In about 2 months, 2letservice is planning to start e-auctioning of real estate not only in the country but also globally. This will give a lot of options to the consumers," said Sudhir Panda, director, Solution Point which operates, owns and hosts 2letservice.com.

The website has already received 3,000 visitors within a month of its launch in January this year-a figure, Panda said, was expected to go up to one million by the end of this year.

Others believe that e-auction of real estate will prove to be beneficial to all the parties concerned.

"Online real estate trading brings in more transparency and efficiency in conducting auctions as it obviates malpractices such as underhand payments," said Maj Gen Jayant Verma of Knight Frank India Pvt Ltd.
Ritu Sharma in New Delhi
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