To list or hide prices of new homes in listings on online portals?

Adam Białas

Ten post dostępny jest także w języku: polski

Not quoting prices in online housing listings, but only when asked by the customer, is a familiar trend for luxury brands, as “hiding the price” means that products are generally only for the “lucky few”, following the idea that “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it”. The idea behind premium brands is that those who buy them have enough money and acquire things because they like them, so price should not be an object that influences the purchase decision. 

The main reasons why prices are not displayed are exclusivity and the perception of luxury. Therefore, all that should matter when buying such a product is quality, craftsmanship, reputation, lifestyle and the story behind it, while price should not be a factor in the purchase decision. Sometimes this is also done so that the developer can flexibly negotiate individual prices for selected customers. In the case of flats on the primary market in Poland, we have complete freedom and no clear trend, as some premium developers provide unit prices, others selling “ordinary” flats do not provide them, and there are also those who provide them online, but only for selected investments. There is also an element of standard price indication even for the most exclusive offers on the secondary market. This is why, for the first time ever, I decided to research customer preferences and an opinion poll in the form of an online survey was carried out in April this year on a group of 1,000 respondents mainly from the real estate, construction and marketing sectors.

The process of purchasing the most expensive flats on the market over a dozen million zlotys is usually mediated by investment advisors and agents. Exclusive offers from the premium segment are subject to considerable negotiations and usually generate only a few enquiries for their exact valuation made by a narrow circle of interested parties. This is also perfectly understandable in the case of expensive yachts, cars, unique watches or jewellery. On the other hand, a strategy where prices are ‘hidden’ only above a certain value means that the luxury brand also has an offer for the middle class, while the high-end prices are kept for the wealthiest.

90% think it is better to show prices
5% prefer offers without visible prices  
5% want prices not to be shown for premium offers

We should also remember that modern shopping tools (portals, comparison sites, BPA – bots) and databases based on SAS technology analyse searched offers by various parameters, so by not showing the price we also “hide” it in the results of such a search. Often the “hidden” price is also given by another source on the web, which in this way acquires leads of potential clients, which are then paid for by the developer looking for buyers, or simply in press articles and rankings. And, even the most expensive ones are heavily promoted by disclosing the price on the secondary market. In addition, analysis and monitoring of consumer behaviour on the web indicates that “price” is a very popular search term on Google, i.e. customers do not see it directly in the ad and then look for it further on the web.

In practice, the opinions of customers as well as developers are divided, and each side has arguments both “for” and “against” and both tactics have their advantages and disadvantages. However, in the case of housing in Poland, many even very wealthy people from different target groups see this as an unnecessary problem or even an unnecessary obstacle. Opponents claim that it is a harmful snobbery from another era or absorbing unnecessary work of the sales department, which does not work around the clock when we are looking for information. Supporters say that the sales department, having contact with the ‘price enquiry’, expands the lead base and takes care of the customer more effectively. At the same time, many agents and advisers, particularly in the premium segment, point out that their wealthy principals use advisers, and that these advisers know the price caps and have the ease of contacting sales departments to obtain quotes.

Author / photo: © Adam Bialas – market expert, business journalist and director of BIALAS Consulting & Solutions.

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