With the advances in technology and communication, a larger proportion of non-local real estate buying decisions are now being made remotely, without investors visiting the site of the development. This is much more common in the new construction market as most of these remote buyers are generally purchasing the property as a non-primary residence or investment property.
This trend appears to be gaining momentum, as property investors from Europe, China, the Middle East and the United States, look to emerging property markets as serious prospects. This is because their own domestic markets are either relatively overpriced or they offer lower potential for capital appreciation in a slower growing economy.
When looking at emerging and frontier market locations, investors are getting more comfortable with Africa as an investment destination as other emerging markets offer fewer opportunities for expansion. The positive demographics combined with relative pricing makes many of Africa’s various real estate markets very attractive. Large property firms are noticing this and have started making large scale commercial land purchases in countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Angola just to name a few.
However that is set to increase dramatically as South Africa’s major cities, are quickly becoming regional gateway cities for expansion into Sub-Saharan Africa and it seems likely that these cities could play a similar role for Africa as other gateway cities have done in various other regions:
In order for Africa to attract the same kind of investment that is currently being made by large commercial firms and replicate this in the residential sector, its marketing technology will have to be world-class. High net worth individuals (HNWI) have very little to go by when comparing overseas properties and hence the marketing and sales material that is presented to them is of paramount importance. Furthermore, the international property marketing online presence needs to be clear, professional and sophisticated in order to grow the confidence required by the prospective buyer in order to tip the scales and close the deal.
For many years now companies have been using 3D visualisations for this exact purpose. Current architectural rendering quality can now be almost photo realistic, and when coupled with interactive design capabilities – clients can undertake a totally immersive experience while sitting in a sales office or a house thousands of miles away. That in itself is a huge leap from where residential project marketing was in Africa just a few years ago.
However, taking it further and making this technology truly interactive (for example – being able to undertake a 3D flythrough of the building grounds and through units) provides a real glimpse into the value and the design of the property. The ability to walk through an apartment in uptown Johannesburg, enjoy the views out the windows and inspect the details of the design – is something that really makes an impact. It becomes a memorable experience which bonds an investor to the project, as is customary in human nature - long term visions are incredibly enticing.
This plays right into Africa’s strength which is the external environment it holds so dear. The scenery that cities like Lagos, Cape Town and Nairobi pride themselves on can finally be brought to life in a manner that does justice to its beauty. By replicating this African spirit online, it opens up the opportunities to a much wider range of people, who previously would not have even thought twice about it. It breaks down the old obstacles of location and opens up the market to buyers from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. In addition, this technology can be tied into a back-end CRM system so that potential buyers and overseas partners can get real time information on unit availability as well as completing all paperwork and contracts in a single online portal greatly streamlining the ability to manage your sales efforts.
This technology, offered across all platforms, ensures that the essence of your development and the intricacies of your design can reach the maximum number of influencers. Once you have their attention - on their smartphone, tablet computer, PC or Mac, the other pieces will fall into place.
In Africa, where there is so much opportunity, holding the attention and interest of investors is crucial, and with these state-of-the-art tools for property marketing – it is easier than ever before. It is no secret that real estate marketing in Africa needs to evolve, and this is the first step along that road. The industry needs to acknowledge that a revamp is required and firms who can adapt and embrace the new technology the quickest, will be the ones who reap the rewards. It takes guts to place your bets on new technology, but it really can open up brand new markets for you and your business.
After all, by staying ahead of the curve – you can lock in that long-term platform advantage while expanding your geographic reach and keeping those investors coming.
The fishing is best where the fewest go, so break ground and make sure that your marketing technologies do justice to all of the hard work.
To find out how Blueprint Effects can assist with your real estate marketing, contact us today.