“The real estate sector is one of the most analog ones that exist.”
CASAFARI boasts of being the largest real estate property database in all of Europe, with over 30,000 sources of information and 300 million monitored listings. Targeted at agents and investors operating in this sector, it has a presence throughout Europe and, following the recent acquisition of Targomo, also operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic countries. Its activity provides a comprehensive view of the market, its evolution, and trends, as demonstrated by Javier Vidal, Chief Financial Officer from this proptech that emphasizes quality and transparency of information to differentiate itself from its competitors.
How the company originated. Let’s talk about its founding team and its business model.
CASAFARI emerged as a solution to a real problem faced by the founding team, three international entrepreneurs with proven success stories. When trying to invest in real estate in Spain and other Southern European countries, they realized the poor quality and lack of transparency in the available information. For example, if they wanted to know the real stock of homes for sale or rent, they had no choice but to look at various classified platforms to estimate that figure, which becomes substantially complicated due to duplicate properties, often with divergent information. And even doing all that, there would still be a lack of information on properties not advertised on those portals.
Faced with this problem, they decided to create a platform to collect, organize, and deduplicate all that information and ultimately create a database of unique real estate assets. This information is made available to our clients so they can carry out their work in a much more informed, professional, and efficient manner.
CASAFARI is software that allows obtaining a detailed and real-time picture of the real estate market. How can users benefit from this platform, including real estate agents, consultants, developers, etc.?
CASAFARI allows users to detect more investment opportunities and earlier than the majority, as it captures information from all available online sources, not just the main classified portals. This means having access to assets that have not yet been advertised in classifieds.
Once an interesting asset is found, CASAFARI allows a detailed analysis of how it compares to assets with similar characteristics. It also helps understand the entire history of that asset in the market, regardless of whether it has been advertised on multiple portals and/or by multiple advertisers, because our technology identifies it as a single asset and collects all that history. And this is very relevant when investing; it is not the same if a property has been on the market for 15 days as if it has been there for 6 or more months and has reduced its price on 2 occasions, for example.
Moreover, there are multiple use cases that go beyond the real estate investment process. For example, with the type of information we handle, agents can easily identify potential clients by understanding which properties are not marketed by other agencies, monitor their portfolio of properties for sale or rent in relation to the competition, etc.
In CASAFARI, you can find the largest real estate property database in all of Europe.
What type of information can be found in CASAFARI?
In CASAFARI, you can find the largest real estate property database in all of Europe, with over 30,000 sources of information and 300 million monitored and updated listings several times a day. Traditionally, the information was more focused on the supply side (property sale/rental ads), although we have incorporated other types of information that complement it very well, especially data on closing transaction prices, which we already have in several countries, including Spain.
Very recently, we acquired a company called Targomo, which allows us to add solutions, information sources, and predictive capabilities in the field of “Location Intelligence.” This basically helps companies select the best locations for their physical points, as well as predict their performance based on a multitude of socioeconomic variables, movement of people, etc.
What does it offer compared to other platforms?
If we differentiate ourselves in something, it is primarily in the quantity and quality of our information. As I mentioned, we have tens of thousands of sources of information and hundreds of millions of monitored ads, among other metrics that can help understand the magnitude and complexity of what we do every day. There are other platforms that focus more on the functionality of their tools than on the rigor and completeness of the information they handle, and there, everyone must decide what weight they give to each aspect. In my opinion, considering the high transactions typically involved in the real estate sector, having the best and most complete information is absolutely essential.
In which countries are CASAFARI’s data available?
CASAFARI collects information from virtually all countries in Europe, although commercially we are mainly present in Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, and the DACH countries. With the acquisition of Targomo, we have added other geographies (in addition to those we have in common), such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Nordic countries.
Casafari simplifies and accelerates the decision-making process in real estate investment. How does the platform help in the management of real estate assets for real estate investors?
The information provided by CASAFARI is also very useful during the asset management phase. Having a platform that combines rigorous data on the recent past (especially related to closed transactions) and real-time market information is a powerful tool for assessing real estate portfolios. But not only that, there are multiple use cases in this regard. Consider, for example, managers who sell their portfolios through marketers (not often exclusively); in CASAFARI, we can tell them who is managing which property, for how long, if there are price discrepancies between what they have mandated or among the agents, etc.
The increase in financing costs tends to shift part of the potential demand for sales towards rented housing.
When it comes to investing, the location of a property is usually one of the main aspects to consider. What specific factors will determine the ideal location for investment?
The answer to this question depends entirely on the type of real estate asset in question and the investment strategy. It is not the same to buy a residential property to renovate and sell than, for example, a logistic asset to develop, rent, and eventually sell after some time.
What is crucial is to have the greatest amount and quality of information possible, which is what we at CASAFARI advocate for, offering data both strictly related to real estate (for example, the evolution of purchase prices, rental prices, stock of assets on the market, yields, etc.) and of another nature that complements and adds value to the decision-making process, such as sociodemographic information, points of interest (hospitals, schools, etc.), movement of people throughout cities, etc.
Let’s talk about the future of the real estate market. What challenges does the market in Spain face in the coming years?
Firstly, the abrupt rise in interest rates that we have experienced since last year will mark the future evolution of transactions and prices, directly affecting both financing conditions and asset valuations.
Secondly, focusing more on the residential market, we have a problem of lack of supply in Spain, which I discuss in the next question. The current regulation does not precisely help boost supply, and that’s where I think we need to put more effort.
Thirdly, we need to continue fostering and attracting foreign investment. Again, regulation sometimes poses significant hurdles, and we must avoid discouraging investment in our country.
Fourthly, sustainability is also noteworthy. Promoting investment is key insofar as resources are allocated to gradually adapt assets to the set objectives.
Finally, I would like to emphasize digitization and the lack of transparency. Real estate is still one of the most analog sectors, resulting in inefficiencies and decision-making with incomplete and even erroneous information. We at CASAFARI are determined to drive this process; our fundamental mission is to bring transparency to this market through digital tools.
And specifically, what will happen soon with the price of housing in Spain?
As I mentioned earlier, we have a significant problem in Spain with a lack of supply, which in turn puts upward pressure on prices (or prevents them from decreasing despite a reduction in demand). This phenomenon affects both the sales and rental markets.
Regarding sales, while the rise in interest rates is negatively affecting the demand for real estate (and certainly the demand for mortgages), the effects on sales prices are, at least for now, not very visible. Due to this mainly, it seems that there will not be a substantial drop in average sales prices despite the decrease in the number of transactions. However, we must be attentive to everything that happens at the macroeconomic level, as well as other factors that may affect supply and demand.
Concerning rental, the increase in financing costs tends to shift part of the potential demand for sales towards rented housing, which, combined with the low level of supply, generates upward pressure on prices that we have been observing in recent times and are likely to continue (again, in terms of averages). What is worrisome is that the effort to cover rent (relative to wages) is increasing, and this can create serious problems for Spanish families, which would undoubtedly be alleviated if we opted for measures that increase the supply of rental housing.
What growth prospects do you have for 2024?
At CASAFARI, the growth forecasts are very positive, as we have been demonstrating in recent years, also becoming much more efficient in terms of costs. Our main goal in 2024 is to continue growing efficiently in the markets where we currently operate, without losing sight of potential expansion opportunities, both organically and inorganically.