How To Exploit Property Portals To Look For Boom Areas


In last week’s installment of our Homebuyer Guides, I have talked about a conversation I had with Ryan, an old friend regarding area prospecting, or in his words, “how to spot an area before it gets hot” (click here here if you have missed it). Of course, despite what you may have heard in a guru seminar, nobody has the crystal ball to predict what’s the next area to go “boom”. Nobody.

People like Ryan have got to kick major ass at their craft because if they suck, they’d get shown the door quicker before you can say “David Moyes“. Indeed, it’s a pretty high octane business because as you would expect, developers spend tens, nay, hundreds of millions in land banking. You don’t get to make recommendations to your boss without having to risk getting bitch slapped if you’re talking bollocks.


Why Most People Suck At Area Prospecting

Professionals like Ryan also have an edge over the casual investor because they are not investing with their own money. As my Mentor would tell me, a good half of the property game is about managing emotions. When you’re not playing around with your own hard-earned dough, then it’s easier to make objective decisions.

I only look at cold, hard data. Some experienced prospectors say they rely on their gut, but for me, numbers don’t lie. I pull the trigger when all the ducks line up in a row, data-wise.
Ryan, my friend

Over the past 24 months we have seen prices of some suburbs in the Klang Valley completely explode, and those who have the foresight to invest early in those areas are now should be as exuberant as Jho Low frolicking with Paris Hilton on a yacht with a glass of Cristal in hand.

From the developer’s perspective, it’s a winner-takes-all game, because once the first guy identifies a hot spot, he will gobble up most of the new “prime” land, leaving pitiful Gardenia crumbs to those who arrive late. Like football, there’s no glory for the Johnny-come-lately.

Steven Gerrard

To the casual byline watcher, these boom areas may seem to be random, but as those geeks like Ryan in the developer’s number crunching department down the basement know, there’s a definitive method to the apparent madness.

I received this email on Monday morning –

Enquiry from reader

Area prospecting tools? Hmm… let me see. I’ve personally seen a stripped-down, iPad version of Ryan’s area prospecting software, and it worked like a geek’s wet dream – it would collate data from various (free and paid) sources – asking and transacted data prices (current and historic), population growth, incoming supply data, demographics. The software could do a correlation analysis and spit out simulation of the future growth of an area at the press of a button. Pretty nifty.

“It’s pretty hardcore. We run simulations day and night, and whenever we find something interesting, everybody congregates into a room to figure out what to do next. Sometimes the big guy (CEO) or his son will be there too; they wanna know where they should put their money next,” Ryan explained.

Developer situation room at

But what if you don’t have the data + the software that runs the data +  a group of brainy analysts who run the software to run the data to tell you where the next boom area is? That’s probably the situation that describes most of us, and fret not, here’s a scrappy little solution that will put you in the game…

Exploiting Property Portals For Fun And Profit

The next time you browse the property classifieds sites (Property Guru, Iproperty, Prop Wall – the big three), forget ogling at the airbrushed pictures of the toilets and kitchens (and the hot agents) and instead focus on the bigger picture. One of the surest signs of spillover demand to look out for is the evidence of decreasing inventory for sale. With a little bit of work (hey, if it’s no-brainer easy then everyone will be doing it) you can use property classifieds sites to look for this trend.

For example, using Property Guru, you can indicate the posting date as one of your search options. This way, you can get an estimation of how much “incoming inventory” for a particular area and track that metric over time.

Property Guru

How to use a site like Property Guru to get data on sub sale supply

Choose to look at listings which were posted for the past month (anything more granular than that may not yield anything meaningful). Also, I like to search for localities instead of specific property names because remember that we want to assess the potential of an area, not a particular property (although nothing’s gonna stop you from doing the same analysis on specific properties if you’re already considering to buy).

Now here comes the “work” (and a little patience). Map out the trend of the available units for sale for a course of a few months and see if the available inventory is falling or rising. If the available stock is decreasing, it means that people will compete for the units and snap them up as they come up in the marketplace. For an area to “explode”, you’ll need to have a shortage of supply, and decreasing inventory is one of the leading indicators of this trend.

To validate this methodology, I called my Mentor yesterday afternoon (which was a bad time because he was practicing his golf swing in Glenmarie), and he barked at me over the phone:-

“Yes, Khai Yin, by all means, go use the goddamn sites to look at supply and demand levels. I’ve told you this before. Amount of listings is a good indicator of supply levels, but in some ways, you can also use that data to estimate demand. Be creative! Watch the listings and wait for the point when they start to decrease while sales remain about the same! That’s when the prices will shoot through the roof. Now stop bothering me. Bye!”

Why Use Property Guru And Not Insert-Website-Name-Here?

I’ll fess up. I like Property Guru because they give me opportunity to plug myself. OK, I kid. 🙂 The real reason is this:- most property portals suffer from duplicate as well as “fake” listings which will render our analysis above useless. I take great joy looking at listings everyday at all the major property sites (yes, I am weirdo), and I can anecdotally (but not rigorously) state that Property Guru may have the least incidence of fake listings compared to the others. I do use it from time to time to research and as part of the free DealMatcher service that we offer, and so far, well, I like it over the other few. Your results may vary though.

Do Me A Favour… Vote Below

Here at, as we are running short on manpower, and to do the things that we do (i.e. to collect data for us to help homebuyers through our DealMatcher service) we had to get our coders to develop computer programs to collect data automatically for us. You see the analysis above? Guess what – we have automated it! We have been collecting and analyzing data on supply inventory since January,and if there’s sufficient interest then I’ll share it. For free. 🙂

Let’s all take a vote, shall we? And also, enter in the comments section below anything else you’d like to see and I’ll consider putting them into our development pipeline for the year. Go for it!

PS: Sorry for the “invisible” submit button – please move your mouse over it. Thanks!

About Khai Yin

When I am not writing for and helping my readers find properties though the DealMatcher service, I spend time doting on my three kids: Wenyi, Qinyi and Eian. My personal stuff, some published essays and contact details can be found at


  1. samuel lau says:

    Hi Khai Yin,

    I have been religiuosly reading your weekly write-up and compilations and always find them interesting read. Keep up the good works. Property news has always been in my reading radar.

    • Thank you, Samuel. If I can do anything for you, let me know.

    • solomon says:

      Hi Khai Yin , i wonder if you can tell me how should i get and calculate supply nd demand data in kuching sarawak , this not big market area such as in KL , And then there is no a lots of focused lace , i mean everyone can buy everything throughout the market in Kuching in which have the population about 800k . Or maybe should i do the supply and demand data in the whole kuching area . Yes and maybe i already answering my own question .

  2. Hi Khai Yin,

    I really enjoy reading this article 🙂
    What do you think about Wangsa Maju? Mind to share your thought?

  3. Voted! Apart from inventory for sale, also consider incoming supply… that will then complete the supply/demand equation, how it drives prices, etc. Thanks KY

  4. Thanks KY for generously sharing your property tips with us newbies. I have learnt far more from reading your articles than from any other books or seminars by so-called gurus in property investment!

    Any recommended websites to check out population growth and demographics?

  5. Derek U says:

    Hi Khai Yin, I’d love to see the data behind this, if still available? You know where to find me 🙂

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