Real Estate Tech in Myanmar

 In Real Estate, Startup Thought Leaders

Myanmar is opening up to the world and it is a mtter of time that Real Estate Tech in Myanmar will pick up speed. As far as the use of technology in real estate is concerned, Myanmar is a suitable place for any entrepreneur to launch a real estate tech startup. The country does represent real estate business in online mode.

However, cutting-age technology is yet to disrupt the market from its traditional way of functioning.

Traditionally, when it comes to investment, people in Myanmar prefer property especially land and houses than anything else. Poor banking penetration and absence of a stock exchange doesn’t leave people with extensive investment opportunities. It shows the importance of real estate in the country.

The good thing is that Myanmar is on its way to adopting this technology both in the real estate business as well as in urbanization, improving cities infrastructure and building techniques.

Just a couple of months ago, experts from the field of urban planning, architecture, engineering and heritage conservation spoke about the significant challenges in the development of the capital city of Yangon town in the conference titled, “The Culture of Technology: Building a Sustainable City for the Future.”

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The conference brought the focus on the need for sustainable planning and technological innovation in urban development in the country. Experts agree that the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in urban management make the city livable and enjoyable for every resident.

In the coming years, the country will learn from developed nations like Italy in how to improve city’s infrastructure with the help of technology. Besides efficient urbanization, the rise in younger population will force the real estate players to adopt the innovative approach.

According to the United Nations, “World Population Prospects: The 2012 Revision”, The young population constitutes 25.4% of the total population in 2005 which went up to 29.4% in 2015. It estimated that in 2020, the young population would represent 30.2% of the total population.

Many experts agree that the traditional property market will not appeal to the younger generation as they are more mobile savvy and want every facility on their mobile. The rising young population makes it necessary for the market to adopt the innovative technology to tap these potential property buyers.

Real Estate Scene in Myanmar

The booming real estate sector of Myanmar took a pause in 2015 when the industry felt an oversupply situation and fall in demand. The reasons for this are many.

The prominent among them are the steep rise in prices in the past couple of years due to a mad rush of foreign investors to take offices on the lease as the country has opened up more for foreigners. Reports suggest that office space in Yangon is among the most expensive in the world.

For instance, in 2013, the rate for office space was US$100 for one square meter area. The unrealistic rise in the price has led to the fall of the property market, believe a lot of property experts.

Besides, election and political restructuring due to the new government is also supposed to be one of the prominent reasons for the slump in the real estate market. Among other commercial activities, tourism has played a vital role in giving a boost the realty market.

According to a report released by JLL in May 2015, “The physical infrastructure in Myanmar remains weak. However, with almost 2,000 km of coastline and an immense collection of archaeological sites, the tourism opportunity ahead is strong. According to statistics released by the Myanmar Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, visitor arrivals grew by 50% from 2 million in 2013 to 3 million in 2014, the bulk of which were from Thailand, China, and Japan.”

“By 2014, foreign firms invested USD 2.5 billion into development projects (hotels and commercial). The bulk of the investors are from Singapore, with over USD 1.5 billion, followed by Vietnam and Thailand, contributing between USD 340 to 440 million each,” adds the report. A lot of experts feel that the market is back to normal and in the coming months, it’s all set to escalate further. However, a section of property consultant believes that the market is reaching equilibrium both in commercial as well as residential.

Myanmar’s GDP in 2016 was 6.5% which was 1.3% less than The World Bank’s forecast. Some experts blame the flagging construction sector for this decline.

Real Estate Tech in Myanmar

In the name of real estate technology, Myanmar has some property website which provides a listing opportunity for people who want to sell or rent their properties. So an investor or an end user surfs this website to meet his real estate requirement. These websites offer thousands of properties which include upcoming private developers’ project, ready-to-move-in flats as well as properties available in the secondary market.

While some of them carry detailed information about properties with pictures and videos on their website, a handful of them have also come up with mobile-friendly websites and applications. The use of a drone to take an aerial picture or video of the project is also popular on websites as it gives an appealing elevated view of the property.

Before drone, developers used to hire helicopters for an aerial shot of their projects for the purpose of advertisement or display on their websites. However, the innovation and use of drone have brought this technology closer to realty tech startups and property websites which can afford this technology for making videos and pictures of properties available for the secondary market.

The most useful part of the drone is that along with an aerial image; it captures the whole neighborhood of the property which lets the buyer get an overall look and feel of the area he is going to reside. It makes property search and purchase an easy and quick decision.

Some of the property website claim to have introduced augmented reality and virtual reality which allows a buyer to take virtual tours of the project which he wants to buy. The use of these latest technologies is very limited. However, the realty experts believe that Myanmar is slowly and gradually realizing the need to shift to innovative technology. They believe that the traditional method to sell the property is no more appealing and efficient among the home buyers of a new generation.

Real Estate Tech in Myanmar – Top Realty Tech Companies

Despite low absorption of the technology, some of the startups in the area of property listing, search, marketplace, and brokerage have tried to leverage the technology to enhance their business.

One of the prominent websites is iMyanmarHouse.com which claims to be number 1 property website in the country. Launched on October 21, 2013, the site allows free advertising for rent and sale of properties. According to the internet site, it has received more than one hundred and fifty thousands of property listing till for buying, selling and renting from various parts of Myanmar. It also provides its mobile application and service such as property tax calculator etc.

Besides, the website also sponsors real estate symposiums and talks in which in invites experts to talk about various aspects of real estate market in Myanmar. Reports suggest that Nay Min Thu, founder of the website iMyanmarHouse.com, will launch a venture capital (VC) fund for early-stage tech startups in Myanmar in 2018.

Another popular website is House.com.mm which allows sellers to list their properties on the sites within five minutes of uploading on the site. The website claims to “serve locals, foreigners, and expatriates with the best opportunity to list or find housing in the most desirable and commercial regions and cities, such as Yangon, Mandalay, and Nay Pyi Taw.”

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The company has extended its services to Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America. The company also claims to use technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality tours.

Some of the other prominent websites which offer almost similar services are ShweProperty.com, winningland.org, MyanmarHomies just to name a few.

Real Estate Tech in Myanmar – Opportunities

The realty sector of Myanmar has an immense opportunity for technological innovation and enhancement as at present prominent players haven’t entered comprehensively into big data, virtual viewing, 3D printing, augmented reality, immersion screens, interactive screens and dynamic, interactive apps, project mapping and social media strategy.

Last year in January 2016, the Myanmar’s Union Parliament finally approved the Condominium Law that legally permitted foreigners to buy 40 percent of a condo building.

Earlier the Transfer of Immovable Property Restriction Law specifically excluded foreigners from entering into any deal with a native for any immovable property in the country. However, with the enactment of new law, experts believe the increase in foreign investment and purchase of condominium which necessitates the use of technology. Expert says that market will adapt itself for the new development as any investor sitting in international location demand more transparency and update and that’s only possible with the help of technology.

Real Estate Tech in Myanmar – Conclusion

The Real Estate Tech in Myanmar has a lot of potential. Once the market bounces back to normality, the innovation is expected to gain momentum because of the presence of the foreign players. The government’s decision to allow them ownership of real estate will not only improve the market sentiments, but it will also improve the technological aspect of the realty business and giving a much needed impetus to the Real Estate Tech in Myanmar.

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Do you want to know what makes a winning PropTech startup, check out these Top 50 Real Estate Tech startups to watch out for in 2018.

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