Nigeria’s Property & Real Estate listing platform, ToLet announced on Friday that it had acquired Jumia House, a property listing rival for an undisclosed sum. However, further research by Nairametrics reveals ToLet, lead by its majority owners, FDV paid Jumia house $500k and agreed to sell Afribaba.com. It’s investment in Afribaba is valued at about $580,489
The deal gives ToLet a market leadership in Nigeria’s online real estate market also dominated by the likes of Private Property, Property 24 etc. According to the company, ToLet’s 60,000 and Jumia House 22,000 listing gives the company a 66% share of Nigeria’s property listing market, making it the market leader. Following the acquisition, ToLet and Jumia House will merge to become Propertypro.ng.
FDV’s Consolidates Africa
Further review of the deal reveals a strategic approach towards consolidating its ownership of the African Property Classified listing market by Frontier Digital Ventures [FDV], the owners of majority owners of ToLet. FDV, a Kuala Lumpur based online classified company, with interest in properties, automotive and general classified verticals is consolidating its strong hold in Africa’s small but growing classified market.
According to its annual report, the company owns about 39% of ToLet which it values at about US$1,262,859. The company also owns MeQasa.com, a leading property portal in Ghana as well as AngoCasa, an early stage property listing company in Angola. Including ToLet to its portfolio of listing companies makes it a formidable property listing company in Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest and growing markets with huge oil reserves.
According to its annual report, ToLet generated an annual revenue of about $103,785 as at 2016 and is loss making. Its Ghanaian counterpart posted revenues of just $10,058 and is also loss making. Property listing is still relatively esoteric in Nigeria as many Nigerians prefer to utilize the services of physical Estate Agents to rent properties. Others rely on listing found in local newspapers or classified newspapers rather than patronize online listings.
Critics of online property listing companies believe they have not been able to clearly sell its benefits to potential users. Some also allude that in cases where listing are used, the results are usually not successful, making it difficult for recommendation, via word of mouth, one of the fastest ways to penetrate an untapped market.
Despite these challenges, an opportunity clearly exists in Nigeria’s property space as vacancy rates racks amidst a challenging economy. Analysts opine that with the sprawling real estate market in Lagos, a competitive classified listing market could help better channel residential and office spaces to renters in a faster, cheaper and more efficiency manner cutting out middle men who introduce multiple layers of distrust and inefficiencies in the property market.