The Next Big Thing

Hong Kong property search start-up set to target wealthy Asian investors with London sales listings

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 April, 2015, 7:01am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 April, 2015, 10:32am

Hong Kong-based property search start-up Spacious.hk has expanded to offer sales listings in Miami and is set to feature London residences aimed at Asian investors.

Founded in 2013 by Londoner Asif Ghafoor, Spacious.hk was designed to provide reliable and user friendly rental and sales listings for the Hong Kong market and has now expanded internationally.

Properties for sale in London through real estate firm Keller Williams will soon be added to Spacious.hk site. Miami listings through Brokers International Realty such as a US$19.5 million waterside villa can already be viewed.

“People in a place like Hong Kong are always looking for investment properties and real estate is the most important asset class in Asia,” Ghafoor said.

Investors will be able to learn about individual neighbourhoods through the Spacious.hk website as well as average prices in the area and the investment potential, Ghafoor explained.

Ghafoor founded Spacious.hk as he felt Hong Kong’s property rental websites were difficult to use, featured little information and often had advertisements for flats that had already been let.

The site includes information on average rental prices in individual developments and neighbourhoods as well as mapping school catchment areas.

Ghafoor, a former equity technology developer for international banks who has lived in Hong Kong since 2007, has real estate in his blood as his parents run a property business in East London.

Two months ago, Spacious.hk expanded to offer rental listings to Singapore, Taipei and Shanghai.

More than 9,000 rental listings from 15 agents in Singapore have so far been placed on the site, as well as 3,000 rental listings in Shanghai from 20 agents in the Chinese city.

Spacious.hk has seen 30 per cent month-on-month growth since its establishment and now has 70,000 users monthly, Ghafoor said.

The company is in the process of raising its next round of funding following on from its US$500,000 in seed funding.

A graduate of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Park’s flagship start-up incubator scheme, Ghafoor said the greatest barrier for the city’s start-up scene is the cost of living.

“In a place like Hong Kong, the salaries a typical start-up will pay are not enough to live on,” Ghafoor said, citing high rental prices as the biggest problem.

Pay at start-ups is normally comparatively low as employees are offered a mixture of a shares in the company and a salary, Ghafoor said.