NAB’s online banking spin-off UBank has joined the growing ranks of financial institutions making an incursion into the online real estate classifieds market.
Today it released the result of eight months work for the UBank development team - a property finder and mortgage calculation app called UrHome.
UBank teamed up with property information firm CoreLogic RP Data and construction industry analyst Cordell to create the free application for iOS and Android tablets.
It allows users to search properties in Australia and automatically calculate their affordability based on a personalised income profile and UBank home finance rates, plus estimates of legal fees, stamp duty and other likely expenses.
It joins the likes of the Commonwealth Bank - which launched its augmented reality property finder app five years ago - and Westpac in the mortgage calculator market, adding a financial services flavour to the property search tools offered by market leaders REA Group and Domain.
UBank CEO Lee Hatton said the UrHome app differentiated itself from existing bank offerings by allowing users to personalise listings with their own comments or alternative price estimates, plus the inclusion of renovations into the cost equation based on Cordell building price markers.
She said the app was designed to help house hunters weigh up the advantages of giving their existing home a makeover or buying a new one.
The archived listings offered by CoreLogic means users can view profiles of homes that aren’t currently on the market. From UBank’s perspective, the team hopes curious browsers may be converted into home loan customers when all the finance options are placed in front of them.
Hatton insisted UBank did not initially set out to build a competitor to realestate.com.au or Domain, but welcomed the opportunity to deliver a tool that could potentially replace these options for UBank customers. She also hinted at partnership opportunities in the future.
However, the property listing specialists are likely to retain a speed advantage over their financial services competitors for at least the time being, as the RP Data listings that CBA and UBank rely on take up to three days longer to update.
At present the UrHome app only offers mortgage calculations based on UBank home loan rates, but the team indicated a rate comparator function was on the cards for the app in the future.