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Singapore’s PropertyGuru posts net loss for third quarter


Private homes in the River Valley/Orchard area in Singapore. Returning Singaporeans and expatriates have driven rental demand in Singapore, according to PropertyGuru’s CFO.

Lauryn Ishak | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Singapore-based online property portal PropertyGuru posted a net loss of $7.4 million Singapore dollars ($5.3 million) for the quarter ended Sept. 30 — down from last quarter’s net profit of SG$3.8 million.

But that’s still lower than the net loss of SG$9.6 million in the same period a year ago, and third quarter revenue grew by 47% year on year.

Meanwhile, adjusted EBITDA for the third quarter improved to positive SG$5.7 million, up from an adjusted EBITDA loss of SG$1.5 million in the same period a year ago. EBITDA is a measure of profitability that shows earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization.

“Our third quarter results illustrate that PropertyGuru has been able to produce strong business performance even as some of our core markets have begun to face headwinds from the challenging economic conditions being experienced around the globe,” said Hari Krishnan, PropertyGuru Group’s CEO and managing director.

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In the earnings call Monday night, Krishnan cited challenging conditions such as Singapore’s rising taxes and stamp duties. In Vietnam, credit for purchasing homes is now harder to access, he said.

The online portal provides information across the Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam marketplaces.

‘We remain bullish’

“Even with short term macro headwinds, we remain bullish on the long term prospects for PropertyGuru,” said Joe Dische, the group’s CFO.

In an interview with CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” Tuesday, Dische pointed to trends in the Malaysia and Singapore property markets.

“We’ve seen some good activity in Malaysia. The government has been supportive of lower-end and affordable homes. There were some measures taken sort of prior to the recent election, to have some sort of stamp duty concessions … kicking in for first-time buyers. So we’re definitely seeing some action being taken there to support the market,” he said.

Finance Minister Zafrul Aziz had said in a budget speech to Parliament in early October that the country will raise stamp duty exemption to 75% from 50% on first home purchases.

Digitalization, middle-class growth and urbanization are strong tailwinds for us: PropertyGuru CFO

He said returning Singaporeans and expatriates, as well as delays in delivery of build-to-order apartments and renovation works during the earlier stages of the pandemic, have driven rental demand in Singapore.

Vietnam, on the other hand, has been cracking down on speculative activity, making it difficult for people to access credit, said Dische.

“This does have a knock-on impact on the ordinary person who is trying to purchase a property. But I think there has been some action against that speculation which drives inflation in those markets. As affordability drops, some people will wait and see and move into the rental market, increasing prices and demand,” he added.

In October, the company made its first post-listing acquisition — Singapore-based home services technology company Sendhelper. PropertyGuru listed on the New York Stock Exchange in March.

PropertyGuru shares are down 39% since its listing.

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