Hispanic renters are a force to be reckoned with. According to JCHS Research, Hispanics will account for 55% of the growth in minority renter households between 2005 and 2015, an increase of 1.9 million over their current numbers, and more than offsetting the1.6 million white renters expected to drop off. By 2015, Hispanics should make up 22% of all renter households and 29 % of all family renter households.
According to Russ Tolleman, partner at Louisville, KY-based PezGrande.com, classified advertising revenues in the Spanish-language online apartment search website business have the potential to reach several hundreds of million dollars during the next few years. This will be the case as more Spanish-dominant Latinos look for apartments online.
In dollar terms, real estate classified advertising is a $7 billion business in the U.S. While in 2004 only 10% of the real estate classified business was online, by 2009 the ratio is expected to increase to 50%. As the business migrates from print to online, both print and digital media properties face opportunities and challenges.
Louisville, KY-based PezGrande.com is putting together English-speaking home-owners with Spanish-Speaking renters, Sondrah Laden, Partner and Creative Director of PezGrande, tells Portada. PezGrande’s biggest markets are Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, although according to Laden, markets like Atlanta (GA) and Charleston (SC) are picking up steam.
“Currently we have about 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 of $34 per month,” she adds. PezGrande’s main clients are apartment communities in 39 states. Prospective renters can use the site for free.
Prior to launching the site, Laden did a lot of research and found that there is a real need to help Spanish-speakers and English-speakers do business.
PezGrande also provides free email addresses for prospective renters. Apartment residents can view listings, print brochures of apartment communities they like and communicate with the apartment communities in their language of choice, says Laden. “For every one view in English we get about 20 in Spanish,” says Laden. PezGrande has a partnership with Univision.com whereby users of Univision’s “Servicios-Apartamentos” channel are directly linked to PezGrande’s website: “Univision gives us a good traffic”, says Laden. She also does sponsored-search advertising on Google and Yahoo! using keywords like: “alquilar,” “apartamentos,” “casa,” and phrases like: “Florida Apartamentos,” and “Texas Apartamentos.”
PezGrande also plans to sell display advertising on its website. “We would like to target advertisers that are specifically related to family living but at this point we are open to most advertisers that offer their services in Spanish,” says Laden.
The Playing Field
Real Estate Classified Media
Renter-oriented Hispanic real estate website
Sister website to English-language Forrent.com
The Tribune-owned Hispanic newspaper chain partners with Homescape.com for online real estate advertising and publishes in print in its own papers
The newspaper chain’s six Hispanic newspapers have their own real estate classifieds on their websites in addition to their print classifieds.
Terra – Bienes Raices
Partnership with Condo.com. Real Estate Sales focused
Terra – Apartamentos USA
Partnership with Apartments.com. Rental focused.
What Hispanic Real Estate Classified Websites Should Provide
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 the 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 newspapers have classified sections online with apartments for rent, e.g. La Raza in Chicago or Hoy in NY, Chicago and Los Angeles.
Recently, however, some Hispanic Internet portals have been venturing into the sector. Last July, Terra launched its “Bienes Raices” with Condo.com, one of the world’s largest condominium marketplaces with inventory of over $100 billion. Michelle Azan, advertising sales director with Terra says, “Condo.com is focused mainly on sales, though rentals are beginning to be offered.” For rentals, Terra has a partnership with Apartments.com in another channel of its website. Some of the interface is in Spanish, with 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.”
Location, Location, Location….The Real Estate Classified Advertising Business
Hispanic Portion Online *1
$550 million *
Hispanic Portion Print *1
$550 million *
Source: NAA and Portada
* By 2009 50% of real estate classified is expected to be online and 50% in print
*1: Hispanic Portion means either the Classified Advertiser is Hispanic or the Classified Advertising targets Hispanics. This real estate classified advertising is not necessarily published in Hispanic specific media.
For more information check out The Spanish-language classified Advertising Market: Q&A with El Clasificado Publisher Martha de la Torre.