Singapore-based online property portal PropertyGuru said Tuesday that its total revenue increased 12 percent year over year to SGD 37 million ($27.45 million) in the first quarter.

The firm said in a statement that its marketplaces revenue rose 13 percent year over year to SGD 35 million ($25.97 million) in the first quarter as strong results in Singapore helped to offset a slower recovery in Vietnam and Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the firm’s net loss was SGD 6 million ($4.45 million) in the first quarter and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) was SGD 4 million ($2.97 million).

This compares to a net loss of SGD 10 million ($7.42 million) and adjusted EBITDA of SGD 200,000 ($148,386) in the first quarter of 2023.

The company reaffirms its full year 2024 revenue outlook of between SGD 165 million ($122.42 million) and SGD 180 million ($133.55 million) and adjusted EBITDA outlook of between SGD 22 million ($16.32 million) and SGD 26 million ($19.29 million).

“Across Southeast Asia, we have seen governments introduce robust policies and budgets to accelerate growth, resulting in uplifted property sentiment,” said Hari V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of PropertyGuru.

According to him, in the first quarter of 2024, the firm delivered double-digit revenue growth, with the Singapore business showing particular strength.

In Vietnam, he said the firm is seeing a gradual improvement in the property market towards the end of the quarter, with listings on its platform hitting a 12-month high in March.

Despite near-term challenges, he said the firm sees a positive outlook for the Malaysian market, with its latest consumer sentiment survey indicating that 1 in 3 Malaysians intend to buy a property in the next two years.

“We are encouraged to see agents in Singapore continue to adopt our artificial intelligence (AI) supported product features to enhance the quality of their listings and engagements,” he noted.

According to him, the firm’s new AI video feature, introduced in January, has close to 60 percent of agents using it after their first trial.

“As part of our efforts to assist an industry adopting increased professionalism, we rolled out our Professional Agent Verification process in Vietnam, which saw more than 500 agents verified in the first week,” he added.

Joe Dische, Chief Financial Officer of PropertyGuru, added that the firm delivered a solid start to 2024 with double-digit revenue growth and flat costs year over year leading to double-digit adjusted EBITDA margin, while navigating a phased recovery in Vietnam and Malaysia as well as typical seasonality in Southeast Asia during the first quarter, which includes the Lunar New Year holiday.

“We remain cautiously optimistic for the year ahead. The Singapore business continues to perform, and we are seeing positive signals coming from Vietnam and Malaysia,

“While awaiting further improvement in secular trends, we are laser-focused on managing costs and improving profitability,” he said.

According to him, the firm’s adjusted EBITDA margin grew from 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2023 to 12.2 percent this quarter.

“All of our marketplaces businesses showed margin improvement year over year,” he said.

Meanwhile, he noted that corporate expenses as a percentage of overall revenue decreased from 43 percent in first quarter 2023 to 40 percent this quarter, as the firm continues to show improved operating leverage.

“For the remainder of 2024, selective hiring and focused investment remain our mantra,

“We plan to continue to invest in automation, leverage our existing technologies and generative AI to both provide superior customer experiences and manage our cost base as we drive continued revenue growth,” he said.

He also highlighted that the firm’s full year revenue outlook of SGD 165 million ($122.42 million) to SGD 180 million ($133.55 million) and full year adjusted EBITDA outlook of SGD 22 million ($16.32 million) to SGD 26 million ($19.29 million) are unchanged.

Near term factors such as further delays in the recovery of Vietnam’s property market due to consumer sentiment and access to credit; weaker than expected economic conditions in Malaysia; and additional fiscal policy measures that the Singapore government may implement, however, may impact the company’s operations in 2024.

Longer- term, the company remains bullish on its growth trajectory, prospects for improving profitability, and the fundamental opportunity that exists in our core markets.

According to the statement, the firm’s Singapore marketplaces revenue increased 25 percent year over year to SGD 24 million ($17.81 million) in the first quarter, as both the number of agents and the average revenue per agent (ARPA) grew in the quarter.

Malaysia Marketplaces revenue, on the other hand, was flat year over year at SGD 7 million ($5.19 million) in the first quarter as property pricing remains elevated relative to consumer expectations, shifting the focus to rental listings in the near term.

Vietnam marketplaces revenue was also flat year over year at SGD 3 million ($2.23 million) in the first quarter as a 13 percent increase in the average revenue per listing (ARPL) was offset by a 13 percent decrease in listings with continuing market weakness.

Singapore’s PropertyGuru reports $740,000 net profit in 4Q amid higher revenue