Reporter: Simon, what's the Neighbourhoods hype about?
Simon Bray: This is an incredibly exciting release for us. We've been keeping it under wraps for probably the last six months. We've been working really hard behind the scenes. Ultimately, we wanted to answer that question "What is it like to live in a particular area?". It's so much more than just the property you want to buy. That is something we have on our website - thousands of homes for sale. You can certainly find your perfect home. We realised through our interactions with our customers that they wanted to know, what is it like to live in a particular neighbourhood? What is that location all about? What's life like around that home? Coffee shops, little restaurants, the property market what it's doing - up or down. There's a lot of insight we have got on the site that we just weren't making visible to people. We worked really hard to unearth all of that good stuff.
Unearth is a good term because there must be a huge amount of data to assess at any time -- we know South African property markets can be very regional and differ greatly from area to area. What do we find, what experience do we get when we log on?
That's one of the cool things we have done, is that we have taken property insights and made useful, visible insights out of the data that we have got. We obviously aggregate all of these thousands of listings on the site. We've got a database that goes 10-15 years back so we can see a lot about the market. We wanted to make it obvious on the site. So there's stuff like median house prices in an area, there's recent sales and some great rental insight too, which is quite unique.
How does it help someone looking to grow that asset and find the right kind of asset?
A lot of investment is obviously buy to let. So guys are buying apartments and then they want to let them out. When you do that, you obviously want to pick an area where the rental yields are really high. So any savvy investor could look at our site now, look at the particular neighbourhood and see the capital gains in the area. So your sales price increases right next to the rental data. So you can see what the rentals are doing, what the average rental yields look like. So if you are a savvy investor you can connect those two, and that's novel, that's unique. There's no other platform on the market right now that's doing just that.
This really does feel like a tool to empower. How does it empower us as the consumer?
We wanted to touch on it from a number of different angles so there's obviously the information. So it's the data that we spoke about, it's something just as simple as when we talk about this neighbourhood, what suburbs are in that neighbourhood? So we've got some rich mapping to kind of show what we're talking about when we mention an area. And then there's something that I think is pretty unique. Something that we've worked on, is this original idea of lifestyle shopping for property. That's something that's emerging. A lot of people are not just location-based, but they want to pick a particular lifestyle. Whether that's urban sophistication and kind of modern lock-up-and-go lifestyle, or perhaps it's you're getting older in life and you want to look at a particular retirement lifestyle that suits you. What we've done is cross-classify all of these neighbourhoods in the country and we've created these lifestyle tags, which is completely unique. So, they might be an area like Ballito in KZN, that's similar to somewhere in Cape Town. Now, we've connected those two together on the site and it gives you a different way to explore. Then, the one area that we wanted to promote as well is this idea of experience.
What is the best neighbourhood in South Africa?
That's probably what started a lot of our discussion initially, what is the best neighbourhood to live in? For each person, it's a different answer. What we've created on the site is a discovery based platform and an exploration of all the different neighbourhoods, and you can choose for yourself exactly what the best neighbourhood is.
What is one tip for our buyers out there?
Well, when we are talking neighbourhoods, you have to go and explore. You mentioned right at the beginning, location is key. What we are doing this Sunday is we packaged three of our feature neighbourhoods and we are going to be releasing them in the Sunday Times, they are going on the site with rich aerial showcases, like video footage you have never seen before. My tip of the day would be, certainly do your research, find the lifestyle that suits you.