Five ways proptech is transforming the property sector

Technology emerged as a game-changer in property investing at least 10 years ago, with services like Zoopla and Rightmove making it easier for people to build real estate portfolios. While services like these were initially limited, it is now possible to use them to take virtual tours, download key documents and research selling prices and localities, without leaving your desk.

This era of ‘information-at-our-fingertips’ should reduce risk for buyers because they should be better informed. We’re not expecting all investors in 2021 to conduct the entire investing process online. But the proportion doing most or all of it – from sourcing and researching opportunities to buying into them – will certainly increase.

Investors are now able to access real-time performance metrics for their assets.

Another trend is the way in which developers, asset managers, estate agents and property investment platforms are able to target investors with highly-personalised messaging on the internet, known as adtech. It is now possible, for example, to reach potential investors based on the type of development they prefer, as shown by their search history or social media output.

This growing accessibility of data cuts both ways. Investors are now able to access real-time performance metrics for their assets in whatever level of detail they prefer and at their own convenience. This might be automated – for example, a live counter showing how well-funded a project is. Or it could simply come through the vastly increased numbers of communications channels asset managers and developers now share with their investors. As recently as a decade ago, the idea that you might receive onsite video updates from a development you’d invested in, straight to your phone, might have seemed fantastical. It will be standard from now on.

A fourth impact of technology is that it can reduce the cost of construction itself, adding value for investors. Collaborative workflow software enables architects, engineers, developers and local authorities to work together more efficiently, minimising costly mistakes and the repetition of time-consuming tasks. Self-driving construction machinery can save time and improve onsite safety, potentially reducing insurance premiums and staff costs. And aerial drones can make surveying and mapping of potential construction sites more accurate and efficient. These are just a few technological advances among many in construction and we will continue to see fascinating innovations over the coming months and years.

All of this can be summed up as better collaboration.

Finally, owning small parts of properties and developments is easier than it has ever been because of proptech. Crowdfunding sites and property investment platforms often offer investors exposure to residential and commercial property for as little as a few hundred pounds. The best will conduct due diligence on behalf of investors, maximise financial protections and offer diversified portfolios of properties and property-backed loans to spread any risk.

All of this can be summed up as better collaboration. If we are able continually to improve the way we innovate to pool our knowledge, expertise and ideas, every stakeholder group – from builders to funders, policy-makers to buyers and sellers – can glean more value from the sector.

This article contains Brickowner’s opinions, based on the information that is available. Always seek the advice of a qualified independent financial adviser if you need advice. All investors should be aware that their capital will be at risk. The value of investments can go down as well as up. Forecasts are not a reliable indicator of future performance.