Embrace Technology – Its a Force for Transformation in the Property Market

07.12.16

We don't think twice these days about holding meetings with clients half way around the world using video conferencing, or touring the streets of a foreign city using Google Street View. Technology makes life efficient.

Five months on from the referendum, we are seeing these uses even more. In early October, the pound hit a 31-year low against the dollar, and there have been losses against other currencies, making the UK a strong investment case for foreign companies, especially in the property sector.

Research from Savills shows that overseas investors made up 78% of the commercial property bought in Central London in the past three months, totalling £2.813bn, up from 57.8% in the previous quarter. Other significant factors have included price discounts and the ease of conducting transactions.

Technology has been a key driver in this. There are now a number of technology programmes to help a company manage a large portfolio from abroad and there are platforms that allow investors to purchase properties online, as well as technologies that allow people to experience a property without needing to be in the UK.

All these serve to make the process far more efficient and in an industry where time is money, it has a direct correlation to the bottom line. If processes become too complex and properties too hard to visit from abroad, the influx of investment will be affected.

The same can be said of the residential market. Brand new state-of-the-art luxury homes are rising up across London and are often targeted by foreign buyers. These types of investments and the buying process are all made possible by ease of access. Why spend hours on a plane coming to visit a potential new home when you can walk around it in virtual reality or take a virtual tour guided by an agent? Landlords and agents alike are beginning to look for tech solutions to traditional problems.

Technology is not just driving inward-facing investment, it is also helping to make the UK ever more global. Today, technology enables people to interact face-to-face with an events planner abroad via a smartphone, assess an investment deck of a European start-up via screen-sharing or take a virtual reality tour of a holiday home.

With new technologies allowing consumers to have a wealth of information at their fingertips, it is those who don’t embrace it who will get left behind.

As the world gets smaller, it will be harder for companies to hide behind walls. It is data and transparency that are fuelling a lot of change in the market. If the UK is to remain a strong player on the world stage it needs to open its arms to technology.

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