Property technology (or Proptech for short) is the application of technology and platforms to real estate markets. Australia is currently experiencing one of the biggest property booms in 30 years, and as our country recovers faster than almost anyone imagined from Covid-19, a report by the Sydney Morning Herald has outlined an astonishing 7% rise in property prices over the past year.
Behind this rapid growth, is innovation in how sales are occurring and Australia’s willingness to adopt new technology early, is again delivering dividends and pushing new boundaries.
The area of tech associated with real estate, property tech, is now causing ripples around the world and acting as a vanguard for modern Australian trade.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed several real estate processes through necessity, given customers could no longer attend auctions or in many cases open houses in person. In line with requirements set by the Department of Health, agents and buyers were required to minimise contact, as were mortgage lenders, loan providers and solicitors. Lender news specialists BrokerNews highlighted this phenomenon back in August last year, with the launch of a new proptech service to help potential home buyers get over the finish line.
The Australian real estate market has taken the move to largely digital-based interactions as an opportunity to upgrade and innovate, doing away with the old-fashioned and slow-moving physical process in favour of a more streamlined digital process. Australians willingness to adopt new tech, is now helping Australia to take a pioneering role in reforming global real estate markets.
Nikkei Asia has a great post that highlights several key proptech platforms launched in Australia, examining how investors and technologists are working together to help overseas markets to digitally reform. For much of South Asia, Oceania and the wider world, real estate remains the same old slow process that Australian markets had sought to shed in favour of faster, digitally driven work.
As countries look to permanently adapt their systems to the rigours of the new normal, where physical property conveyance and purchasing simply isn’t fit for purpose, the lessons and experience built in Australia are going to become more and more important.
This has most recently been shown in Australian trade envoys to the UK.
While the news this week has been a buzz with stories of a new free-trade deal between Australia and the UK, the two countries also share a desire to modern their real estate industries. Digital platforms for fixed-priced selling like Purple Bricks and Sello have now sprung up, replacing the traditional commission models. They also attempt to dramatically simplify the process of transacting a property which should reduce costs for all parties.
In late April, The Negotiator reported that digital property investor Simon Baker, also the Chairman and largest shareholder of the Gold Coast based software firm The PropTech Group, was looking to expand. The company operates two of Australia’s key property software platforms, VaultRE and MyDesktop, and is working on taking leading proptech features and tools from Australia to the UK.
Britain recently announced a new tech-forward development strategy, that works in harmony with developments in the proptech space. ‘Unlocking the power of data’, ‘building a tech-savvy nation’, ‘unleashing the transformational power of tech and AI’ and ‘leading the global conversation on tech’ are all part of the ten tech priorities.
We should expect to see further innovation in the UK and let’s hope partners like Australia and New Zealand can benefit from in-country innovations. Given how the world is changing when it comes to property, things are going to evolve rapidly over the next few years and that means better products, better customer service, and an ever-greater role for Australia to play on the world stage.