According to JCHS Research, Hispanics will account for 55 percent of the growth in minority renter households between 2005 and 2015, increasing by 1.9 million and more than offsetting the 1.6 million drop in white renters. By 2015, Hispanics should thus make up 22 percent of all renter households and 29 percent of all family renter households.
Hispanic renters are a force to be reckoned with to any real estate industry member. And so they increasingly are to the media that caters to them. According to Russ Tolleman, partner at Louisville, KY, based PezGrande.com, classified advertising revenues in the Spanish-language Online Apartment Search website business have potential to lie in the several hundreds of million dollars during the next few years.
Pezgrande.com’s business is putting together English-speaking Home owners with Spanish-Speaking renters, Sondrah Laden, Partner and Creative Director of Pezgrande, tells Portada. Pezgrande: biggest markets are Miami, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, although according to Laden, some are emerging with strength including Atlanta (GA) and Charleston (SC).
“Currently we have approximately 1,500 apartment communities listed on PezGrande.com and we continue to grow daily,” says Laden. Apartment owners and managers pay a low monthly subscription fee $34per month,” she adds. PezGrande’s main clients are Apartment Communities in 39 states. Prospective renters can use the site for free. “
“Only apartment communities, some condo rentals (30 days only) and prospective renters and renters can use the site for free. We also provide a free email address for anyone interested and prospective renters and apartment residents can view listings, print brochures of apartment communities they like, communicate with the apartment communities in their language of choice and access their pezgrande.com email accounts,” says Laden. “For every one view in English we get about 20 in Spanish,” says Laden.
PezGrande’s competitors include ParaRentar.com, the sister website to English-language Forrent.com, which has a few more listings than PezGrande. There are also some regional Spanish –language Apartment Search Websites, some of them in Texas.
Print and Online Competition
Historically, the real estate classified business has been in the hands of newspaper industry. With the arrival of the Internet the online medium has proven to be very effective. “Websites are much more interactive and allow for seamless communication between English and Spanish speakers,” says PezGrande’s Laden. Many Spanish-language have classified sections online with apartments for rent, e.g. La Raza in Chicago or Hoy(NY, Chicago, Los Angeles).
However, some Hispanic Internet portals have been venturing into the sector. Last July Terra launched its “Bienes Raices” as a result of a partnership with Condo.com, one of the world’s largest condominium marketplace with inventory of over $100 billion.
Michelle Azan, Advertising Sales Director of Terra, notes that, “Condo.com is mostly focused on sales versus rentals, although rental is part of the offering.” For rentals, Terra has a partnership with Apartments.com in another channel of its website. Some of the interface is in Spanish although the apartment descriptions are in English.
Starmedia’s COO, Juan Jose Nunez, says that for now his portal does not have much Internet content. However, Starmedia plans to launch a real estate channel on its website during the next few months. “We are evaluating different options and will decide what is best for our users and advertisers.