The real estate industry has widely been regarded as a huge laggard in adopting technology, particularly when compared to the Financial Services industry. Whilst real estate players tried to figure out what technology means to their business, FinTech start-ups powered ahead exploring new frontiers.
How quickly things have changed. Today, we see real estate developers and agencies eagerly jumping on the PropTech bandwagon to develop solutions that would give them an edge over their competitors. PropTech can no longer be swept under the carpet as something that would eventually happen but not just yet.
How has PropTech changed our interactions with real estate?
Aside from the digitalisation of property listings which has largely rendered print advertising redundant, PropTech has already changed the way we approach property transactions in so many ways.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Gone are the days where you rang up your banker or mortgage broker to enquire about a property’s valuation. In this day and age, all it takes is a few simple clicks on a property portal to ascertain the current value and potential future value for a specific property. The portals employ AI and algorithms to extract and analyse data such as historical transaction data, property characteristics and economic data to churn out an indicative value for the selected property. Sure, this comes along with a whole host of caveats on reliability and accuracy, but the values are very much in line with what you’d get from an actual valuation. Will we still need property valuers going forward?
The use of blockchain technology for property transactions is slowly but surely gaining momentum. Several players in the marketplace are offering blockchain solutions which aim to improve the efficiency in property transactions, increase transparency in the process, lower cost of ownership and lower the entry level for property investments. Blockchain could potentially be a huge game changer as cross border property investments become that much simpler and faster.
Underpinned by blockchain technology, tokenization of property assets is another trending development. Tokens facilitate access to institutional grade assets by fractionalizing the underlying property and offering smaller quantum units to a wider pool of investors.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Already actively in play, AR solutions allow prospective buyers to visualize the layout of the property, attractiveness of any furnishings and even the view from a high-rise unit with the aid of drone technology. AR solutions help to reduce the uncertainty associated with a property purchase and have tangible benefits to both property investors and developers.
The continued development of PropTech solutions is a welcome development for an industry often viewed as old school. Advancements in PropTech solutions for construction and day-to-day management of property assets would also go a long way towards reducing the industry’s reliance on manual labour. The improved operational efficiency would no doubt also help bolster a developer’s bottom line.
All in all, PropTech is a wind of change in real estate that should not and must not be ignored.