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House hunting gets easier in Asia with online SmartSelect tool

A new tool launches in Singapore that helps simplify the search for a new home by introducing an easy to understand ranking system.

Screenshot by Aloysius Low/CNET

The new SmartSelect tool from Asia-based real estate website PropertyGuru, making its debut in Singapore, offers an easy way to rate properties on sale with a ranking system similar to hotel room ratings. The company claims that the tool, which pulls in data from government agencies and real-estate agents, is first of its kind in the world.

Enter the location, size and price of a property and SmarSelect displays a score on a scale of one to 10 in six categories: price, location, area, price per square foot, tenure and age.

This means you can, at a glance, quickly ascertain if a property is too expensive compared with other properties listed in the area, or if it's smaller than homes the same price.

You can also adjust the values of the six categories to narrow your search, adding personal preferences such as placing more importance on location (which is based on proximity to transport and grocery stores) to get a more accurate score.

To obtain accurate results, data was compiled from two government bodies as well as the company's own property listings, which are made by real-estate agents. In-house algorithms were then developed and measured against PropertyGuru's own criteria before being normalized. This allows it to measure the current value of property instead of basing it on past transactions.

Singapore was chosen as the first market to launch due to the abundance of accurate data provided by the government. PropretyGuru has plans to roll SmartSelect out to Indonesia and is also currently working on an international version. Due to the difference in available datasets, SmartSelect may have different features based on the market when it launches globally.