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Real estate portal Housing adds 3 more cities after operational breakeven in Mumbai

housingReal estate portal Housing, which started as a flat rental services platform for Mumbai, has expanded its operations to Pune, Gurgaon and Hyderabad.

Set up in 2012 by a group from IIT Bombay, Housing enables real estate brokers to upload unlimited listings on the site while users can search properties for free. The portal has also added 'buy' option a couple of months ago (which means flats up for sale are also listed here) to expand its product bouquet. The venture is owned and operated by Mumbai-based Locon Solutions Pvt Ltd.

"We have a strong foothold in Mumbai and are growing at a very fast pace. We are on par with other established portals in the city when it comes to the number of users," said co-founder Advitiya Sharma. "Given the strong demand from consumers, we have now expanded to Gurgaon, Pune and Hyderabad," he added.

While brokers have to pay bi-annual/annual subscription fees for listing on the site, listing for landlords is free, for now.

According to Sharma, bigger real estate portals work like a crude telephone directory when one searches for broker contacts. "In contrast, Housing invested in an in-house data collection team to ensure it showcases only genuine flats with verified pictures and details," he said.

The company has started generating revenues but Sharma declined to share information on the revenue run rate. He said that the firm has achieved operational break-even for Mumbai and is now focusing on consolidating its presence in the four existing cities.

The firm has attracted two rounds of angel funding earlier this year. In March, the company raised angel funding from former Network18 CEO Haresh Chawla, immediately after securing an disclosed sum from a group of angel investors, led by Zishaan Hayath, co-founder of the phone commerce company Chaupaati Bazaar, which was acquired by Kishore Biyani's Future Group a couple of years ago.

According to Sharma, the firm has received investment interest from domestic and foreign VC firms, but it has not yet frozen any investor for an institutional round of funding.

Housing comes with a clean interface and looks slicker, compared to most real estate listing sites. But it faces the challenge of competing with big and established names like Times Group's Magicbricks.com, Sulekha Property, Info Edge's 99acres.com, Indiaproperty.com and Makaan.com besides some other recent entrants like Proptiger.com and Commonfloor.com.

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