In interview with BriefcaseMartín Monzón, CEO of FincaRaiz.com.co told in detail the plans of the real estate platform to grow this year despite the macroeconomic situation, working hand in hand with the technology and with greater presence in the territories.
In addition, the leader of the portal highlights the view of foreign countries in the Colombian real estate market.
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What is the balance that the end of 2022 leaves you?
It was a very good year for us, the truth is that we were able to make a lot of progress with some projects that they used and make great strides in migrating to new technologies that we had been doing for 24 months.
We managed to have double-digit growth. We are very happy because in terms of operating margin we once again had good results; we grew three points compared to the margin of the previous year. We are very happy and looking forward to what is to come.
However, in 2022 there were great challenges, what is the goal this year?
Inflation and above all the interest rate that impacts the user to acquire housing. In addition, in 2021 we saw that a fixed mortgage rate in pesos of 8% was still being achieved and 12 months later it was already at 16%, so we really felt that and especially our clients, such as real estate and construction companies, felt it too.
However, we know that it is a transitory measure, so we find ourselves in an inflationary environment, for this reason we are very positive and we know that this inflation will start to drop, and you can always sell the portfolio at a lower rate.
Despite all this, how do you expect the year to end?
We expect it to be even better spectacular than 2022. Camacol’s expectations are close to 250,000 homes sold, which means a growth of 7% compared to 2022, (…) If this is fulfilled, it will be a year.
In our case, we closed the project at 24 months for a technology and brand migration, in which US$1.2 million have been invested in technology, human resources and, of which, more than half a million dollars were in marketing .
Last week we launched the ‘self-service’ product, where all individuals can publish on the portal, providing through a simple design, all the tools and making a more unique experience.
We will also release the latest version of our app. Finally, we present an experience for all real estate and construction companies, with which we have completed this process. Although Camacol projects this sale optimistically, there is the possibility that sales may even fall if interest rate increases improve…
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What strategies are you implementing in that scenario?
We are always following the metrics, and we are in contact with real estate and construction companies. We are very optimistic with the measures adopted by the Government and we believe that we are going in the right direction where growth expectations occur.
Beyond new housing, we are very focused on the used part, and as rates drop we will see a greater upturn on that side.
Also of the 230 million properties viewed last year, more than 57% are for rent. The used world also represents an important percentage in Fincaraiz.com.co.
What other challenges besides rates do you see in the sector?
In the case of constructions, the building materials. However, we are seeing a decrease in the increase in raw materials, which alleviates the impact that the construction companies have had, we are quite happy.
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What places would you like to go to?
We reach more than 3,500 real estate clients in the country. That part makes us very happy, it is a growth of the 2,500 that they used, thanks to the fact that the previous year we achieved some re-launching in Villavicencio, Cúcuta and Montería. We plan to continue deepening with this geographical expansion, and physically appearing in other cities.
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And about products?
We returned with our face-to-face events, such as the FincaRaiz.com truck that invited users to get on and receive free advice, we did that last year.
Another of the physical events, in the case of real estate, were two in Pereira and Cali with more than 1,300 attendees. These events were aligned with training, latest trends in the sector, among others. We are going to deepen that this year with an event for 1,000 people in Bogotá, Medellín, Cali, Pereira and Barranquilla.
And for the world of construction companies, we recently launched some physical fairs in Miami.
The reason for these events is that we found a very significant number of visits to our foreigner portal, especially for new housing. We work with 24 construction companies to promote the theme in March and May again.
How much do foreign searches correspond to?
We began to find from different countries that more and more unique users are looking for this type of housing. For October and November, 10% of our unique users were from the United States, that is, of 1.8 million users per month, 180,000 were searches of this type, followed by countries such as Spain, Chile and Australia.
PAULA ANDREA GALEANO BALAGERA